Kane Launches New, Free Fluorescent Tube Recycling Pilot Program

Kane Launches New, Free Fluorescent Tube Recycling Pilot Program


The newest program managed by Kane County Recycles will offer residents of Kane County a place to drop off their fluorescent tubes for free. This is for resident-generated tubes only, so businesses may not use this program — although there are alternative options for businesses and more information is provided below.

How to Participate

The fluorescent tubes recycling pilot program runs from December 2015 through May of 2016 at the Ace Hardware in Geneva. Simply bring your fluorescent tubes to the store at at 617 W. State St., Geneva, and they will be recycled. Please note that the tubes must be unbroken.

The tubes will be delivered to Fluorecycle in Ingleside, IL, for recycling.

For more information on recycling, please visit the Kane County Recycles website at www.countyofkane.org/recycling.

Why Just One Location to Start With?

The 2015 Kane County Solid Waste Management and Resource Recovery Plan affirms that there is a need for more locations and recommends that Kane County explore the feasibility of permanent drop-off locations.

Therefore, the Kane County Division of Environmental and Water Resources will explore the feasibility of partnering with select local hardware stores to act as drop-off points for a county program by conducting a pilot program at one central location.

Starting with one site will enable the county to assess the costs associated with such a program and determine if it is feasible to maintain one or more permanent drop-off locations. The pilot will run for six months and across two seasons, from Dec. 1, 2015, through May 31, 2016, at Geneva Ace Hardware at 617 West State St., Geneva.

Why Do We Need This Program?

Fluorescent tube lights contain trace amounts of mercury, so the U.S. EPA recommends that they be responsibly disposed of through a Household Hazardous Waste program, but the problem is that recycling options in this area are somewhat limited.

Presently, Kane County residents may take fluorescent tubes free of charge to the HHW facility in Naperville and some Kane County residents eligible for the HHW pick-up may use that program. Additionally, Batteries Plus stores in Elgin and Geneva will take them for a fee, and only two other hardware stores in Kane County will take them from customers who are buying new tubes. See the Kane County Recycles website for more details.

Due to this lack of convenient drop-off locations, residents frequently call the Kane County Recycles office to request more conveniently located options.

In response to this need, Kane County began offering fluorescent tube recycling at the annual recycling extravaganza events, starting in 2013. Since then, an average of 1,500 4-foot fluorescent tubes and assorted other fluorescent bulbs were collected for safe disposal at each of three annual events. But once a year doesn’t fulfill the year-round need to dispose of the tubes.

Who pays?

As mentioned, the pilot will be free for residents. The pilot will be paid for with Grand Victoria Riverboat Grant funds annually awarded to Kane County Recycles programs under the Kane County Division of Environmental and Water Resources. Additionally, Fluorecycle has offered to take the first three months of material free of charge.

The goal of the pilot is to assess whether the grant funds available in the Recycling Program budget will be able to support one or more permanent drop-off locations. It may be determined that the program can continue with a small customer fee, or it may continue to be free.

Businesses Must by Law Recycle Fluorescent Tubes

In 1997 fluorescent lamps were designated by law as universal waste, a category of hazardous wastes, because of their mercury content, thereby banning them from landfill disposal. Residential material is exempt from this law, but businesses must contract for disposal services. Here are some companies that can assist small and large businesses with their responsible fluorescent tube disposal needs:

  • Everlights — 877-934-9873​
  • Fluorecycle — 815-363-4411

Questions? Contact Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland at 630-208-3841 or recycle@countyofkane.org.

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