Alderman wants stores to recycle bulbs

July 2, 2009 (CHICAGO) The 2nd Ward alderman introduced the ordinance (link to ordinance) this week to the city council. It calls for "the owner of each retail establishment that offers for sale fluorescent bulbs or high intensity discharge lamps shall provide for the on-site collection, free of charge, for recycling of used fluorescent bulbs and high intensity discharge lamps that were sold by that establishment." Home Depot and most ACE Hardware stores already accept the bulbs. You can also bring used CFLs to the Household Chemical and Computer Recycling Center on the city's North Side

Back in November, the I-Team reported on the dangers of compact fluorescent light bulbs called CFLs. They contain mercury; a toxin experts say can cause developmental delays and other neurological problems. Environmentalists worry that when hundreds of millions of these CFLs burn out or break, people will just throw them away. If they end up in a landfill, the mercury can leak out into the environment.

After seeing our report, Alderman Fioretti called for public hearings about the risk CFLs could have on the environment. The hearings have not yet been held.

Fioretti anticipates his light bulb recycling ordinance will go to the City Council's Committee on Energy, Environmental Protection and Public Utilities later this month and then to the full council in September.

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