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Follow the Lead of Motel 6; Implement a CFL & Battery Recycling Program

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Motel 6’s announcement last week that it will roll out a fluorescent light bulb and battery recycling program throughout its almost 900 properties was an important step that other companies should emulate. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which offer so many benefits, also include mercury, a hazardous substance. Not disposed of properly, liquid mercury quickly turns into a vapor that can be inhaled. Long-term exposure to it can damage the nervous system, the kidneys, lungs and other organs.

Batteries are used throughout a hotel in items such as door locks, TV remotes and myriad other places. They consist of heavy metals such as nickel cadmium, alkaline, mercury, nickel metal hydride and lead acid. Leaking batteries can cause burns or other problems when exposed to eyes and skin.

Do you know the current end-of-life destination of your CFLs, batteries and other fluorescents? Hopefully you do. Landfills are the worst place for these. Toxins from fluorescents and batteries eventually leach through the ground and pollute the water supply. Air quality also is impacted when these items are crushed or burned. Numerous companies now offer container programs for safe recycling of bulbs and batteries. They are easy to use and ensure that our environment is protected.

Two Recycling Partners

In its recycling program announcement, Motel 6 said it has partnered with Oakleaf, which will oversee its program, and Veolia Environmental Services, which manufactures and recycles light bulbs and batteries. Each Motel 6 property will receive a box designed to collect light bulbs and a container for batteries. Materials will be shipped to each location on an annual basis with instructions on how to return the used containers.

Numerous other companies also offer return programs for fluorescents. Just last week, Osram Sylvania unveiled two CFL recycling options: the MiniPak CFL mail-back recycling kit, and the Community Pail RecyclePak. Like other companies’ kits, Osram Sylvania’s includes a prepurchased FedEx return label.

Another company to consider for fluorescent lamp recycling is Pineapple Hospitality, which has partnered with www.lamprecycling.com to provide Easy Pak kits to hoteliers. Mercury Waste Solutions, Earth Protection Services and Air Cycle Corp. also provide safe containers, return freight, and recycling. Mercury Waste Solutions provides online tracking and reporting of all recycled and outstanding containers. Air Cycle also provides online tracking. For battery recycling, sources include Air Cycle Corp. and Battery Solutions Inc.

Avoid Hazards, Reduce Risks

By using companies such as those described above for lamp and battery recycling, companies can save money, avoid potential health hazards, reduce liability and ensure environmental health and safety. Participation in lamp recycling programs also guarantees that the glass, metal, mercury and other products are reclaimed for use in manufacturing other products.

When implementing a lamp or battery recycling program, be sure to establish a central collection point. Educate all employees about the policy during meetings and post posters to remind them. Also include reminders in employee and property level newsletters. Inform your guests about the policy and encourage them to practice responsible lamp and battery recycling at home. Measure the effectiveness of your program and the quantity of materials sent for recycling.

Responsible lamp and battery recycling is easy to do. Get started today.

As always, I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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