APTIM Monitors Environmental Regulations For You
Our team of sustainability and waste minimization professionals understand the unique challenges that clients face in keeping up and complying with evolving federal, state, and municipal environmental and safety regulations.
At the beginning of my local government career in California, I was responsible for public education and waste diversion programs. I distinctly remember with horror the state’s lead media and marketing push away from incandescent lighting to fluorescent lighting to save energy. Sixteen years ago, I was standing in a Fresno, California, warehouse filled ceiling to floor with pallets of fluorescent lights at (one of many) public giveaway events. I was thinking, “How will I educate the public and safely manage these mercury-filled lights once they burn out?”
For years, we have known that mercury is highly toxic to humans and the environment. In fact, the World Health Organization considers it one of the top 10 most dangerous chemicals impacting public health. This fact was largely ignored given that fluorescent lights significantly reduced energy consumption. For the last 16 years, local government officials, and private companies have struggled to educate and safely manage this universal waste stream, often failing at the effort.
Yes, fluorescents reduce energy consumption, which is great for the environment but at the expense of exposing the public and environment to more mercury. These are unintended consequences of going green. Thankfully, today there are readily available mercury-fee alternatives, making the sale of compact fluorescent lamps and linear fluorescent lamps unnecessary. Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are a newer, mercury-free technology available in nearly every shape and size. LEDs give off less heat, last longer, are more energy efficient than fluorescent lighting, and contain no end-of-life mercury to safely manage.
This brings me to California’s Assembly Bill (AB) 2208: Mercury Lamp Pollution Prevention Act, which is currently moving through the California legislature (as of August 24, 2022) and is supported by several industry lighting groups, local governments, waste haulers, and multiple policy think tanks. On and after January 1, 2024, AB 2208 would prohibit a screw or bayonet base type comp fluorescent lamp, and on and after January 2, 2025, a pin-base type compact fluorescent lamp or a linear fluorescent lamp for sale or distributed. The bill would exempt various lamps that meet specific criteria from that prohibition, including lamps used for specialized image capture and disinfection.
Clearly, AB 2208 is good news for public health and environmental reasons, but what does AB 2208 and other regulations mean for you and your organization? The answer is change, learning new environmental regulations, and meeting more regulatory requirements. This is where APTIM can help. For over 30 years, we have been providing solutions to your environmental and safety regulatory challenges. Our team of sustainability and waste minimization professionals understand the unique needs that clients from a broad range of industries and local government face keeping up and complying with evolving federal, state, and municipal environmental and safety regulations.
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