Vermont’s statute governing the collection and recycling of mercury-containing lamps (the Act) was signed into law by Governor Peter Shumlin in May 2011. Under § 7152 of the Act, manufacturers of mercury-containing lamps are prohibited from selling a mercury-containing lamp unless they are implementing an approved collection plan, pay a fee to the state, are listed on the Vermont Agency for Natural Resources (ANR) web site as covered by an approved plan, and meet several other requirements. This prohibition became effective July 1, 2012.
Retailers that sell mercury-containing lamps and any municipality are eligible to participate in the program as a collection site. These collection sites are available throughout the state for “covered entities” to dispose of eligible mercury-containing lamps at no charge.
The Act defines a “covered entity” as “any person who presents to a collection facility that is included in an approved plan:
(A) Any number of compact fluorescent mercury-containing lamps; or
(B) 10 or fewer mercury-containing lamps that are not compact fluorescent lamps.”
For more information about Vermont’s law please click here.
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Many Solid Waste Districts and Retailers have modified operations to protect front-line workers. Service at participating locations may be suspended or curtailed. Please call in advance.
If you are unable to recycle due to the current health emergency, please do not dispose of your waste mercury-container lamps in the trash. Store them and recycle these items when normal operations resume.
Where to recycle your household fluorescent bulbs
Residents of Vermont that meet the definition of a covered entity may at no charge to them dispose of mercury-containing lamps at any collection site throughout the state.
To find a municipal collection site nearby contact your Solid Waste Management District.
To find a retail or municipal collection site near you can also use the Zip Code Lamp Recycle Search Tool at the top of this page.
Retailers that sell mercury-containing lamps and municipalities are eligible to participate in the manufacturers’ lamp recycling program as a collection site. There is no charge to participate as a collection site. For details about eligibility, participation requirements, container ordering, promotional materials, and program support, please see the links below.
Under § 7152 of the Act, manufacturers of mercury-containing lamps are prohibited from selling a mercury-containing lamp unless they are implementing an approved collection plan, pay a fee to the state, are listed on the Vermont Agency for Natural Resources web site as covered by an approved plan, and meet several other requirements. This prohibition became effective July 1, 2012. Manufacturers can meet this obligation either independently or through participation in a Stewardship Organization (SO), which the law defines as “an organization, association, or entity that has developed a system, method, or other mechanism which assumes the responsibilities, obligations, and liabilities under this chapter of multiple manufacturers of mercury-containing lamps.”
Unlike similar laws enacted in other states, Vermont’s lamp recycling statute imposes obligations not just on manufacturers of light bulbs, but also on certain retail entities that purchase lamps and present them for sale under their own brand labels. This is captured by the definition of manufacturer (§ 7151) as follows:
“Manufacturer” means a person who:
(A) Manufactures or manufactured a mercury-containing lamp under its own brand or label for sale in the state;(B) Sells in the state under its own brand or label a mercury-containing lamp produced by another supplier;
(C) Owns a brand that it licenses or licensed to another person for use on a mercury-containing lamp sold in the state;
(D) Imports into the United States for sale in the state a mercury-containing lamp manufactured by a person without a presence in the United States;
(E) Manufactures a mercury-containing lamp for sale in the state without affixing a brand name; or
(F) Assumes the responsibilities, obligations, and liabilities of a manufacturer as defined under subdivisions (A) through (E) of this subdivision (4), provided that the secretary may enforce the requirements of this chapter against a manufacturer defined under subdivisions (A) through (E) of this subdivision (4) if a person who assumes the manufacturer’s responsibilities fails to comply with the requirements of this chapter.
Whether developed by individual companies or collectively under an SO, a manufacturer’s collection plan must contain the following components:
(1) Free collection of mercury-containing lamps – the program must accept lamps at no charge from “covered entities”(2) Convenient collection locations – at a minimum, the program must include two collection locations in each county in the state.
(3) Public education and outreach – the program must be supported by promotional activities that may include media advertising, retail displays, articles in trade and other journals and publications, and other public educational efforts.
(4) Compliance with appropriate environmental standards – manufacturers must ensure that the program complies with all applicable laws related to the collection, transportation, and disposal of mercury-containing lamps.
Manufacturer collection programs will be approved by the state for a period not to exceed five years. The manufacturers must submit a program report annually, however, that provides a description of the program, the number and type of mercury-containing lamps collected and the collection facility from which the lamps were collected, and an estimate of the number of mercury-containing lamps available for collection and the methodology used to develop this number. In addition, every five years the manufacturers must retain an independent third party to audit the program, providing recommendations to the state on ways to increase program efficacy and cost-effectiveness.
The Vermont ANR holds supervisory responsibilities under the statute in that it must approve the manufacturers’ program, oversee the registration of SOs, and ensure public input to the process. The ANR also has discretion under the law to require a manufacturer or a stewardship organization to amend an approved plan.
Certain retailers, as noted above, may qualify as manufacturers under the statute and thus be obligated to participate in collection plans. All retailers, however, are prohibited from selling mercury containing lamps as of July 1, 2012 unless the retailer has reviewed the ANR website to determine that the manufacturer of the mercury-containing lamp is implementing an approved collection plan or participating in an approved SO collection plan.
Manufacturer’s Collection Recycling Plan
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources – Department of Environmental Conservation
Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation – Mercury Education & Reduction Campaign