Drum-top lamp crushing equipment is used to reduce the volume of mercury-containing lamps (usually fluorescent lamps). The crushed lamps, which must be recycled, may 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.
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
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.
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 could be disposed in a solid waste landfill. As a precaution, letters were written to all known manufacturers of drum-top crushing equipment at the time, 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.
Mercury in Medical Facilities
Health facilities have had the opportunity to make significant changes in the last two decades regarding mercury use. Alternatives to mercury-containing products and changes in purchasing policies have led to less frequent mercury spills and better waste management policies. A good example has been the conversion from old mercury-containing sphygmomanometers (blood pressure devices) to aneroid types containing no hazardous materials. Changes like this create a safer environment for medical staff and patients while also being more protective of the environment.
The following links can help your facility eliminate mercury-containing products and properly manage the ones that remain.
Best management practices (BMPs) for the handling of scrap amalgam from dental offices have been developed by the American Dental Association. These BMPs meet regulatory requirements for management of this waste in Florida. The BMPs can be found on the American Dental Association website. If you choose not to manage scrap dental amalgam in accordance with these voluntary management practices, it is your responsibility to ensure that your facility operates in compliance with all regulations.
Dental Lead Foil Recycling
The lead foil backings from intraoral dental X-ray film should be recycled, not placed in the trash, red bags or sharps containers.
Mercury Switch Recovery from Scrap Vehicles
The National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program (NVMSRP) is a voluntary program that accepts mercury switches at no cost to participants. Please visit the End of Life Vehicle Solutions website for more information.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.