The program in Florida for mercury-containing lamps and devices came about as the result of the Solid Waste Amendments of 1993, from which
Section 403.7186, F.S
was promulgated. At the beginning, guidance was issued by the Department for the management of mercury-containing lamps going to mercury
recycling facilities. On May 10, 1995, rules were promulgated under
Chapter 62-737, F.A.C.
(pdf) for the management of lamps and devices and the permitting of mercury recovery and reclamation facilities in Florida. These rules were
later amended on May 20, 1998, so that they would be in synchrony with the
US EPA's Universal Waste Rule (UWR).
Photo: An example of crushing and separation equipment used in the first step of the lamp recycling process. Note that the
equipment is enclosed and operates under negative air pressure with the process air routed through redundant carbon filters to remove mercury
Two mercury recovery facilities
(pdf), one of which also has mercury reclamation capabilities, have been permitted under Chapter 62-737, F.A.C. As a result of Florida's
disposal prohibitions on lamps and these facilities' efforts to market their services, more than 25% of the lamps estimated to have been
discarded in Florida in 1997 and 1998 was managed at these facilities for the recovery and reclamation of the mercury they contained. Due
to the competition between these facilities, the prices charged generators for their services have dropped substantially. In addition, one
of the facilities participates in a
State of Florida contract
to provide lamp recycling services to state and local governmental agencies. This has resulted in great savings in recycling costs for state
and local agencies.
The UWR framework provides incentives for generators of lamps and devices to manage these wastes under Chapter 62-737, F.A.C., for recycling
as opposed to their management as hazardous wastes under RCRA through disposal. Only transporters and other non-generator handlers are required to
with the Department unless they are solely participating in a reverse distribution
program as described below. A lamp and device handler facility, including a generator,
needing to accumulate 5,000 kilograms (kg) or more of all universal wastes (including
hazardous waste batteries, etc.) must also notify and receive an EPA/DEP ID number
before accumulating such quantities, if it does not already have one per the large
quantity handler requirements under the Universal Waste Rule . Other requirements
(see 62-737.400(3)(a)3.), including a $1,000 registration fee, apply to non-generator
handler facilities and to transporter transfer facilities storing lamps or MCDs off the
transport vehicle, if either accumulates 2,000 kg or more of lamps or 100 kg of devices
at any one time. There is also an exemption from registration for transporters (see
62-737.400(3)(a)1.) collecting lamps from generators of ten or less lamps per month
provided the transporter does not accumulate more than 400 lamps at any one time.
The Department maintains
a list of registered handlers of mercury containing lamps and devices.
This Chapter also contains a rule to encourage the implementation of reverse distribution
programs whereby manufacturers and distributors, including corporations or government
agencies, register with the Department and provide for the collection and proper management
of their lamps or devices from their subsidiary facilities in accordance with this Chapter's
provisions. Only the sponsor of a reverse distribution program is required to register with
the Department. All participating transporters and handler facilities that are listed in
the reverse distribution program and that are not conducting other lamp or device transport
or handler activities are not required to register with the Department. This rule has been
used by one large corporation in Florida already to ease the management of lamps at its
subsidiary facilities. In addition, a trade association made up of mercury thermostat
manufacturers is operating a
reverse distribution program for mercury thermostats under these provisions.
Finally, the issue of properly managing light ballasts has come up as a result of the
regulation on lamps. In Florida any PCB wastes containing greater than 50 parts per
million of PCBs is prohibited from disposal at MSW disposal facilities per
Rule 62-701.300(5), F.A.C.
(pdf). The management of PCB-containing and other light ballasts is further addressed
on the second page of the fact sheet for
Managing Spent Fluorescent and High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps
(pdf). The EPA gives guidance on the management of lighting ballasts in the
LIGHTING WASTE DISPOSAL - Lighting Upgrade Manual.