When it comes to light bulb disposal, most Canadian operations would have difficulty matching Dan-X Recycling Ltd.’s practice of keeping all the parts, including the toxic mercury, out of landfills.
“We are true recyclers; nothing that we process goes back into the environment,” says David Hall, president of the Sackville-based company.
“Our competitors put everything in their hazardous waste landfills,” explains Vice-President Dana Emerson.
Dan-X’s two visionary owner-operators use, and distribute in Canada, a patented state-of-the-art system from Balcan
Engineering in the U.K. that separates and contains bulb components for reuse.
The equipment has made Dan-X a prized partner for Efficiency Nova Scotia. Most incandescent, florescent, and compact
florescent lights removed through its energy efficient lighting programs are funneled to Dan-X for disposal.
Meanwhile the company is attracting a growing list of corporate customers that recognize paying the bulb recycling
charge underscores their environmental commitment.
Since its inception in 2009, Mr. Emerson estimates Dan-X has kept more than
16 pounds of mercury from landfills by recycling 1.2 million bulbs.
“In a four-foot florescent bulb,” Mr. Hall says, “there are 22 milligrams of mercury. That’s about as much as you could get on the point of your pen. When you crush a million bulbs you have 400, 45-gallon drums of glass and maybe 250 drums of end caps and maybe five drums of phosphorous powder. “
After processing, the powder is all that remains of the mercury that lined the glass bulb interiors.
OSRAM SYLVANNIA, the well-known light manufacturer, buys the glass and phosphorus powder to make new products in St. Mary’s, PA, while a Montreal metal recycler receives the end caps.
Dan-X’s special process also handles batteries, picture tubes, ballast, street lamps and thermostats that contain mercury.
For companies unwilling to pay for hazardous waste disposal a dumpster can be a legal alternative in many situations. “When government regulations come in and say you can’t put florescent bulbs in the garbage, we hope to be a party and a
solution to that,” says Mr. Hall.