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Corner of TabDrum Top Crushers for Fluorescent Lamps Corner of TabHighlights

Drum-top lamp crushing equipment is used to reduce the volume of mercury-containing lamps (usually fluorescent lamps) and the crushed lamps, which must be recycled, can be considered Universal Waste. While this may reduce storage space and transportation costs, these savings may be outweighed by employee safety problems, possible uncontrolled mercury emissions and higher recycling costs. Crushing poses employee health and environmental risks if mercury vapors are released during crushing operations, especially if crushing operations are performed in a small, closed, unventilated room. Since mercury is tasteless, odorless and colorless, the release of mercury vapor may not be noticed unless a portable mercury analyzer is used. Mercury may adhere to the drum, the container, or the metal end caps causing mercury contamination and increased costs for recycling or disposal especially under humid conditions or longer storage times. Because of these potential problems, the Department strongly recommends a thorough and ongoing evaluation of drum-top crusher worker safety.

Drum top crusher for fluorescent lamps Photo: A drum-top lamp crusher with a mercury vapor recovery system. Operator should use appropriate personal protective equipment.

Use of this equipment by the generator of the lamps (as distinguished from another company that is hired to crush a generator's lamps) is allowed as long as:

  • the lamps are destined for recycling
  • the crushed lamps immediately enter the final accumulation container from the drum-top crushing equipment
  • crushing is done in compliance with the 4 requirements specified in paragraph 62-737.400(6)(b), F.A.C.

Alternative uses of drum-top crushing equipment are allowed under special conditions:

  • Drum top crushers may be used at state approved household hazardous waste facilities to crush lamps from both households and conditionally exempt small quantity generator facilities.
  • Drum top crushers may be used to commingle lamps from different generators into the same drum.
  • A drum top crusher may be used by different companies.

Please review the guidance memo for details.

In mid-2002 and on more than one occasion, the Department had been advised that some prospective Florida users were under the impression that the glass resulting from the crushing of lamps with one of these devices can be disposed in a solid waste landfill. As a precaution, letters were written to all known manufacturers of drum-top crushing equipment (Company #1, Company #2, Company #3) to explain that Florida regulations governing the use of such equipment for crushing fluorescent lamps do not allow disposal of the crushed lamps in any Florida landfill. These manufacturers were advised to make sure their sales representatives conveyed the correct information on Florida regulations to potential buyers of their equipment.

In August, 2009, a corresponding letter (Company #1, Company #2, Company #3) was sent to the known manufacturers of this equipment reiterating these concerns.  The Department had received reports similar to those in 2002.

Last updated: November 04, 2016

Permitting and Compliance Assistance Program #850-245-8705 MS #4565


Division of Waste Management #850-245-8705 MS #4500
2600 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2400

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