Alamos National Lab created machine that eats flourescent bulbs when they're dead

Reply Tue 8 Mar, 2011 11:43 am
I hope this machine will be sold low enough that local companies can afford to have them available to people to use to safely dispose of them.


Albuquerque Journal

LOS ALAMOS - Los Alamos National Laboratory is increasing its use of a machine to crush fluorescent bulbs. The northern New Mexico lab says that could save tens of thousands of dollars in waste disposal fees and prevent mercury from escaping into the environment.

The machine known as the Bulb Eater attaches to the top of a 55-gallon drum and works like a large food processor. Workers feed fluorescent bulbs into a tube, which sucks them through propeller-like blades, pulverizing them.

Fluorescent bulbs contain small amounts of mercury vapor. That means they must be labeled, boxed and disposed of as a type of hazardous waste. The Bulb Eater captures the mercury vapor in a three-stage filtering process. It neutralizes the vapor by turning it into mercuric sulfide, which is not hazardous.
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Reply Tue 8 Mar, 2011 11:58 am
I wish for this machine and the process to be truly cheap and practical. I see built into this an inherant transportation-cost issue. How do you get these bulbs delivered to the bulb-eater intact and unbroken? For an example, if EVERY recycling center had one of these, this might make a difference.

However, recycling/reclaiming CRT monitors makes a big environmental impact and likewise have to be gotten out of the trash stream, too. Do you know how successful has CRT monitor recycling process been? These monitors have mercury as well as other pollutants, not to mention traces of valuable copper.

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Reply Tue 8 Mar, 2011 03:44 pm
Interesting story, B!

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