Energy saving lamps are lamps that emit light not by a burning filament like incandescent lightbulbs, but by electric discharge of mercury atoms. The current causes the atoms to emit UV light. On the fluorescent coating inside the tube, the UV light turns into visible light. Energy saving lamps also include lamps composed of semiconductors that emit light, known as LED lamps. The latter do not contain mercury.
Due to low energy consumption, these lamps are categorised as environmentally friendly products. In order to make this entirely true, we must be careful where we dispose of waste lamps. They contain a small quantity of mercury, so they must be collected separately and recycled in an ecological way.
Waste energy saving lamps do not belong among mixed communal waste nor glass, but need to be put in special containers. Lamps discarded among mixed communal waste are not recycled and may pollute the environment.
How to manage waste energy saving lamps, which are a hazardous type of waste due to mercury content, is prescribed by the Decree on waste electrical and electronic equipment (Official Gazette of Republic of Slovenia, no. 55/15, 47/16)
What should I do if an energy saving lamp breaks?
- If a lamp breaks, do not use a vacuum cleaner to pick up the broken pieces.
- Close all doors and open all windows. Leave the room for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove the pieces of the lamp with a piece of cardboard and wipe the floor with a damp cloth.
- Put the pieces of the lamp, cardboard and cloth in a mason jar or some other type of jar with a lid.
- Stick on a warning: “Caution, may contain traces of mercury” and submit it to a hazardous waste collection centre.