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August 25, 2011 (San Diego) -- Small business owners in San Diego County can recycle fluorescent lights free! California state law requires everyone to recycle fluorescent tubes and bulbs, which contain small amounts of toxic metal mercury. The recycling can cost small businesses hundreds of dollars a year.

The county’s Department of Environmental Health has a $160,000 Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block grant from the U.S. Department to properly recycle the lights at no charge.

“It’s completely free,” said Yazmin Amado Vu, a department employee. However, time is limited. Vu said although the program will be available through June of 2012, recycling kits are being sent out on a first-come, first-served basis. Laurie Hallihan of State Farm Insurance in Alpine counted about 20 fluorescent lights with about 80 bulbs in her office. “I would absolutely do that (recycling),” Hallihan said after hearing about the program. Businesses can fax or mail a request form that is available online at under “universal waste.”

Once the request is processed, participating businesses will receive pre-postage paid kits that can be filled and shipped directly to a recycler for proper management.

A business can receive a maximum of four kits accommodating up to 200 lamps, depending on size and type, while supplies last. “The sooner, the better,” Vu said. In order to protect citizens’ health and environment, Section 66273.33 of Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations, used fluorescent lights must be managed as universal waste. It is prohibited to dispose of the lights in the trash. For more information and/or forms, call (858) 694-2232 or




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