Letter to the Editor: Ask the Transfer Station to take CFLs

Thursday, July 14, 2011

To the Editor:

I'm a big fan of CFL lightbulbs due to their longevity, energy saving benefits, and cost savings. I recently brought several CFL lightbulbs to the Shoreline Transfer Station with the intent of recycling the bulbs and keeping mercury out of our landfills. I was surprised to find that the Shoreline transfer station is the only transfer station that accept the bulbs and they will charge you 80 cents per bulb to recycle them.

Why in the world are they charging people 80 cents to recycle a lightbulb? Not only does Home Depot accept them for free, but the Snohomish transfer station in Mountlake Terrace does as well. I'd like to encourage readers to contact the King County Transfer Station customer service department with the request that they change their policy to help encourage recycling. They may be reached at 206-296-4466.

Shoreline residents are fortunate to have Cleanscapes providing curbside pickup of CFL bulbs. There are instructions for disposing the bulbs on the Cleanscapes web site.

Frank Kleyn
Shoreline, WA


Frank Kleyn,  July 15, 2011 at 9:10 AM  

Follow up- I had a talk this morning with the King County Recycling representative. She stated that the county is interested in having the companies that sell the bulbs (ex. Home Depot) be responsible for the task and cost of recycling them. She agreed that the transfer stations should hand you a flyer expressing this perspective along with a list of businesses that will take back the bulbs. As our community takes on more recycling should we turn to local businesses to recycle or should our tax dollars be directed toward providing this service. Something to ponder.

Janet Way July 15, 2011 at 10:53 AM  

I agree with Frank on this, while I understand the difficulty that the transfer station may have in implementing. It seems no more difficult than Cleanscapes taking it on. Charging $.80 per bulb is prohibitive and only encourages the wrong way to deal with this, that is people throwing them in the trash.

As we ramp up our actions to save energy, with CFL's becoming common place, we must deal with this issue as a region. It is just inevitable that the bulbs will burn out eventually, and they contain toxins that must be dealt with safely.

I urge Metro to find a way to deal with this growing need.

Thanks for this letter.

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