Household Recycling Of Compact Fluorescent Lights: A Survey Of Influential Factors
Free (open access)
87 - 98
T. P. Wagner
Increased energy costs, government subsidies, and a successful marketing campaign has significantly increased the number of compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) installed by households in the US state of Maine. Although CFLs provide many benefits, they contain small amounts of mercury which, given the large number of CFLs in use, can become an environmental contaminant of concern unless recycled in an environmentally sound manner. Despite a ban on disposing of CFLs, the availability of free CFL collection, and a statewide education campaign, the household CFL recycling participation rate is low. A study was undertaken to identify which factors are responsible for low recycling participation by surveying 520 Maine residents who use CFLs. Based on the survey, only 23.5% of households have recycled CFLs. The survey responses indicate a lack of awareness as a primary factor in low recycling participation as nearly 70% did not know CFLs are required to be recycled or believed recycling is not required. Regarding locations for CFL drop-off, 64.2% said they did not know where CFLs could be brought for recycling and 72.9% said they were unaware that CFL collection and recycling can be free. An analysis of the statesponsored free CFL recycling program identified insufficient coverage at the municipal level indicating inconvenience as a key factor in reduced recycling. Based on the survey results, suggestions to increase the household CFL recycling participation rate are: (1) modify the educational effort to focus on the location of drop-off options and (2) improve convenience by expanding significantly free collection locations statewide. Keywords: recycling, extended producer responsibility, compact fluorescent lights, convenience, municipal solid waste.
recycling, extended producer responsibility, compact fluorescent lights, convenience, municipal solid waste