Lamp Use & Disposal


To establish procedures for the safe handling and proper disposal of potentially hazardous lamps and to accelerate the replacement of high mercury content bulbs with low level or non-mercury containing bulbs.


The College is required by Federal Regulations, 40 CFR 273 (Universal Waste Regulations), to ensure the proper handling and disposal of these wastes.


The regulations define a lamp as follows:

"Lamp…is defined as the bulb or tube portion of an electric lighting device. A lamp is specifically designed to produce radiant energy, most often in the ultraviolet, visible, and infra-red regions of electromagnetic spectrum. Examples… include, but are not limited to, fluorescent, high intensity discharge, neon, mercury vapor, high pressure sodium and metal halide lamps."

Identifying Bulbs that Contain Mercury

The following types of bulbs contain mercury:

  • Fluorescent, compact fluorescent, black lights.
  • High intensity discharge bulbs (HID). These bulbs are commonly used in security, outdoor and warehouse lighting. HID lighting is becoming popular for indoor use in commercial settings. The following are HID bulbs:
    • mercury vapor
    • metal halide
    • high pressure sodium
  • HID lighting is also used in vehicle headlamps. HID headlamps can be identified by their characteristic bluish-white tint when lit. Some halogen bulb manufacturers are now applying a blue coating to their bulbs which makes them look like HID bulbs when lit, however, halogen bulbs do not contain mercury
  • Ultraviolet bulbs
  • Neon bulbs
  • Those responsible for installation of replacement fluorescent lamps shall only use low mercury bulbs identified by green metal ends, whenever they are appropriate.

Responsibilities of Persons Who Generate Mercury-Containing Lamps for Disposal

Fluorescent and other hazardous lamps:

  1. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that employees responsible for replacing bulbs are trained on this procedure.
  2. Remove lamp from fixture intact.
  3. Place lamp into the shipping container. Do not tape bulbs together.
  4. Properly label the exterior of each container as below:
    Mercury Containing Device
    Include Date *
    *Note: the date will be the date when the first lamp is put into the container.
  5. Broken lamps shall be collected into a plastic bag, taped closed and stored with intact used lamps.
  6. When a pallet is full or eleven (11) months have past since the first lamp was placed in a container, the Health & Safety Coordinator will request pick-up and disposal of the containers.

Storage Requirements

Lamps must be stored in a manner that maintains the integrity of the lamps and storage containers, prevents the leakage or release of waste from the containers, and provides protection from water, rain and wind.

Used lamps must be sealed at all times in the disposal container. This shall be done by taping the ends and hand holds of the box. The only time the container should be open is when placing bulbs into it. Boxes should remain sealed even if it's not full and you plan to place more in it.


Plant Operations outsources the disposal of its universal waste to Southeast Recycling Technologies, INC. located at 906 Chase Dr., Johnson City, TN 37601 - (423) 282 - 2022.

The coordination of pick-up and the manifest shall be maintained by the Plant Operations Department.


Any staff with responsibility for collecting any form of Hazardous Waste must take the RCRA training annually.