Mercury Programs

Light-Recycle Washington logo Washington Mercury Lights Stewardship Program

In 2010, the Washington Legislature passed the Washington Mercury-Containing Lighting Recycling Act (SB 5543), establishing a producer-financed product stewardship program for the collection, transportation and recycling of mercury-containing lights: LightRecycle Washington.

PCA Product Stewardship Inc. was contracted by the Washington State Department of Ecology for program plan development and program implementation up to Dec. 31, 2012. The stewardship program was expected to begin Jan. 1, 2013, however, on Dec. 19, 2012, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) filed a law suit challenging the legality of the Department of Ecology rules that went into effect on Dec. 17, 2012. The designation of an entity to operate and manage LightRecycle Washington, and the subsequent program implementation, was delayed from the expected Jan. 1, 2013 start date.

In March 2013, Ecology contracted with EcoLights NW, LLC to be the state-contracted stewardship organization. On March 7, 2014, the Legislature passed ESHB 2246 ensuring adequate financing for the stewardship program and resolving both the industry's lawsuit and the delay in program implementation: stewardship plan(s) are due to Ecology by June 1, 2014, and program implementation must begin by Jan. 1, 2015.

Visit Ecology's Mercury Lights website to review the Final Standard Plan (PDF), a list of producers (PDF), and the final Mercury Lights Rule. Find a list of collection sites where residents can recycle their mercury-containing lights on LightRecycle Washington.

BC LightRecycle Program

LightRecycle is a non-profit program to responsibly recycle lighting products in British Columbia and is funded by fees on mercury-containing lamps. The program is managed by the Product Care stewardship organization and began for residential-use fluorescent lamps in 2010. LightRecycle expanded to include all kinds and quantities of lamps, ballasts and fixtures from the residential, commercial and industrial sectors on July 1, 2012. Visit Product Care’s BC Light Recycle program website for further program information and information on the BC Recycling Regulation.

NWPSCKing County Take it Back Network

King County's Take it Back Network is a partnership among retailers, repair shops, charitable organizations, recyclers and government agencies that provides consumers with safe and convenient recycling options for products that contain hazardous components. The network now accepts fluorescent bulbs and tubes from residents and businesses for a fee. For a list of locations to take your bulbs and tubes visit the King County Take it Back Network Fluorescent Bulb & Tube Recyclers. In September 2008, Bartell Drugs joined the Take it Back Network, offering to collect and recycle CFLs at all of their 56 stores.

Washington Auto Switch Mercury Removal Program

In January 2006, a Memorandum of Understanding (PDF) was signed by the Department of Ecology (DOE), the Automotive Recyclers of Washington (AROW), and End of Life Vehicle Solutions, a coalition group of manufacturers. Memorandum establishes the Washington Auto Switch Mercury Removal Program. Auto Recyclers participating in the program are reimbursed three dollars per switch. On the DOE website, auto recyclers can sign up for the program, read a removal guide, print labels and learn more the program.

The King County Local Hazardous Waste Management Program website also provides information about removal, storage and disposal of vehicle mercury switches. As of February 2008, Washington automobile recyclers have collected more than 45,000 light switches containing toxic mercury, preventing the equivalent of 100 pounds of this toxic chemical from entering the environment. See the DOE Press Release for more information.