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Consumer FAQs

  • What is LightRecycle Washington?

    LightRecycle Washington is a non-profit program that allows all Washington State residents to safely and conveniently recycle mercury-containing lights at no charge. The Program began January 1, 2015.

  • What types of lights are accepted?

    LightRecycle Washington accepts all mercury-containing lights including lamps, bulbs, tubes, or other devices that contain mercury and provide functional illumination in homes, businesses, and outdoor stationary fixtures.

    The main categories of mercury-containing lights accepted by LightRecycle Washington are:

    1. Fluorescent tubes up to 8-feet in length, including straight (linear), u-shaped, circular and other curved shapes.
    2. All types and sizes of Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
    3. High Intensity Discharge Lights (HIDs).

     

    For more details on the products accepted, please refer to the accepted products page.

  • How many lights can I drop off for recycling?

    Washington State residents can drop off up to 10 lights per person per day at authorized Collection Sites.

  • Where do I drop off my lights for recycling?

    There are more than 200 authorized Collection Sites throughout Washington State. Use the Collection Site Locator to find a drop off location near you.

  • Do fluorescent and HID lights contain mercury and are they safe?

    Fluorescent lights (CFLs and fluorescent tubes) contain a small amount of mercury. As there is no safe level of exposure to mercury, care must be taken to ensure that materials are handled properly. The mercury from a compact fluorescent light or fluorescent tube is only released if the bulb is broken.

    Follow these few simple steps to safely handle, store and transport compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and fluorescent tubes:

    • Recycle all your CFLs and fluorescent tubes to keep mercury out of landfills
    • Remove and install the CFL only by handling the base of the bulb to prevent any unnecessary pressure on the glass that could cause it to break.
    • Store and transport CFLs and fluorescent lamps in containers such as original packaging that help prevent bulbs from breaking.
  • What about mercury-containing lights that have been accidentally broken?

    Accidentally broken fluorescent or HID lights are accepted by LightRecycle Washington Collection Sites as long as they are completely sealed in a plastic bag or other air-tight container. For details, visit our broken light clean-up instructions.

  • Why are fluorescent lights considered “green” if they contain mercury?

    Fluorescent lights are energy-efficient and consume far less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs and last significantly longer. Since the process of producing electricity often requires the use of fossil fuels, saving electricity helps protect the environment by reducing carbon and mercury emissions by power plants.

  • What do I do with products that are not accepted in the program?

    For light types (or quantities) that are not accepted by the Program, please contact your local Household Hazardous Waste facility or lamp recycling company for more information on light recycling services.

  • How is the program funded?

    LightRecycle Washington is funded by an Environmental Handling Charge or “EHC”. An EHC of $0.25 per light will be added to all mercury-containing lights sold at retail in Washington State. The EHC is used to cover program costs, including managing the transportation and recycling of collected products and the administration and promotion of the program.

    The EHC is subject to retail sales tax, as it is considered to be a part of the purchase price of the lights. Manufacturers or retailers may choose to build the EHC into the product price, or display it as a separate charge to consumers at the time of sale. The EHC is not a government tax nor is it remitted to the government.

  • Who manages the LightRecycle Washington program? Why was the program developed?

    LightRecycle Washington is managed by PCA Product Stewardship Inc, (PCA) a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. PCA is an affiliate of Product Care Association, a not-for-profit industry association that manages product stewardship programs for household hazardous and special waste on behalf of its members in the United States and Canada.

    LightRecycle Washington was developed pursuant to the requirements of the Mercury-Containing Lights – proper disposal law (Chapter 70.275 RCW) for the proper disposal of mercury-containing lights, which requires that all producers of mercury-containing lights sold at retail in or into Washington State must participate in an approved product stewardship program for these products.

  • How do I get more information?

    For more information, please contact us.

Participant FAQs

  • What products are included in the program?

    The LightRecycle Washington program will collect all mercury-containing lights, (defined as lamps, bulbs, tubes, or other devices that contain mercury and provide functional illumination in homes, businesses, and outdoor stationary fixtures).

    The primary product categories are:

    1. Straight Fluorescent Tubes up to 8 feet in length
    2. Curve-shaped Fluorescent Tubes including u-shaped, circular and others
    3. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) – All sizes and types, including pin and screw base
    4. High Intensity Discharge (HID) – HID lights include High Pressure Sodium, Mercury Vapor and Metal Halide

     

    See the Accepted Products page for more information.

  • Who are the “producers” according to the law?

    The Washington Legislature passed the Law for Mercury-Containing Lights – proper disposal (Chapter 70.275 RCW) and states that every producer of mercury-containing lights sold in or into Washington State for retail sale must participate in a product stewardship program for those products.

    “Producer” means a person that:

    1. Has or had legal ownership of the brand, brand name, or co-brand of a Mercury-containing light sold in or into Washington state unless the brand owner is a Retailer whose Mercury-containing light was supplied by another Producer participating in a stewardship program under this chapter;
    2. Imports or has imported Mercury-containing lights branded by a Producer that meets the requirements of (a) of this definition and where that Producer has no physical presence in the United States;
    3. If (a) and (b) of this definition do not apply, makes or made a Mercury-containing light that is offered for sale or sold in or into Washington state; or
    4. Sells or sold at wholesale or retail a Mercury-containing light and does not have legal ownership of the brand and elects to fulfill the responsibilities of the Producer for that product.
  • What are my obligations as a producer?

    Every producer of mercury-containing lights sold in or into Washington State for retail sale must participate in a product stewardship program for those products. LightRecycle Washington is currently the only approved product stewardship program, and participation is open to all producers.

    Starting January 1, 2015, producers must add the mercury-containing light environmental handling charge (EHC) to the purchase price of all mercury-containing lights sold to Washington retailers for sale at retail. The producer shall report and remit the associated EHCs to PCA Product Stewardship Inc. (PCA) to fund the program.

    Retailers or distributors may choose to report and remit EHCs directly to the program instead of paying them to the producer when they purchase lights. In this case, the producer must have a binding agreement in place with the retailer or distributor and must notify PCA of any such arrangements to ensure all EHCs are properly reported and remitted. A Supplier – Customer Remitter Determination Form must be provided to PCA as evidence that a binding agreement has been established.

  • Who are the “retailers” according to the law?

    According to the law for Mercury-Containing Lights – proper disposal (Chapter 70.275 RCW) “Retailer” means a person who offers mercury-containing lights for sale at retail through any means including, but not limited to, remote offerings such as sales outlets, catalogs, or the internet, but does not include a sale that is a wholesale transaction with a distributor or a retailer.

  • What are my obligations as a retailer or a distributor?

    Starting January 1, 2015, every Washington retailer and distributor must add the environmental handling charge (EHC) to the purchase price of all mercury-containing lights sold at retail in Washington State.

    Retailers and distributors have the choice of two options:

    1. Pay the EHC to their supplier at the time of wholesale purchase, and then add the EHC to the price of the lights sold at retail in order to recover that cost.
    2. Register with the program, and then charge the EHC on the lights sold at retail (or sold to Washington retailers for sale at retail) and remit the EHCs collected directly to the LightRecycle program.

    The Department of Ecology provides a list of all participating producers on it’s website. Product retailers, distributors, wholesalers, and electric utilities may not distribute or sell mercury-containing lights in or into the state from producers who are not on the Department of Ecology’s list of participating producers and who are not participating in a product stewardship program.

  • What is the Environmental Handling Charge (EHC), and why is it required?

    Funding for LightRecycle Washington comes from an environmental handling charge (EHC) that is added to the purchase price of every mercury-containing light that is sold at retail in Washington State. The EHC is used by PCA Product Stewardship Inc., a non-profit industry association, to cover program costs, including managing the transportation and recycling of collected products and the administration and promotion of the program. The EHC is not a government tax nor is it remitted to the government.

    According to the law, the EHC must be applied to all mercury-containing lights sold at retail in or into Washington State as of January 1, 2015. Sales that are conducted online or through the internet are considered sold at retail.

  • Is the EHC subject to sales tax?

    Yes. The Law requires that the EHC must be added to the purchase price of all mercury-containing lights to be sold at retail. Accordingly, whenever Washington sales tax applies on a retail sale of an accepted product, the entire product price, including the EHC, is subject to retail sales tax.

  • Am I required to display the EHC on customer receipts?

    No. It is the choice of the participant (the retailer, producer or distributor) whether or not to show the EHC on the customer receipt. EHCs may be shown as a separate line item on the invoice or receipt, or incorporated directly into the price of the product, at the discretion of the participant. The amount charged by a participant to its customer to recover the EHC must equal the actual EHC payable by the participant to PCA.

    If the EHC is shown as a separate line item on receipts, it may not be described as a government fee or charge, and must include the terms “Environmental Handling Charge”, “EHC” or another appropriate abbreviation.

  • As a retailer, do I have to inform my customers that the EHC has been charged?

    Yes. According to the Law, consumers must be made aware that an EHC has been added to the purchase price of mercury-containing lights sold at retail and retailers must provide information to consumers describing where and how to return mercury-containing lights for recycling. Marketing materials for retailers to provide to their consumers informing them of the EHC and the available collection network are available and can be re-ordered through the promotional materials page.

    Online retailers must provide this information to their customers in a visible location on their website.

  • What if several products are sold in one package or as one unit?

    Packages containing multiple lights must have the EHC added to the price for each light in the package. For example, lights sold in a 2-pack will have two EHCs added to the purchase price of the package.

  • How are EHCs applied when lights are sold integrated into fixtures?

    Lights sold installed in lighting fixtures of any types and sizes, (such as chandeliers, wall mounts, pot lights, etc.) are not included in the program and do not need to have the EHC added to the purchase price. However lights sold as replacement lights that are sold separately from the fixture are included and must have the EHC added to the purchase price.

  • As a Producer, will I join the program or will my customers?

    All producers are required to register with LightRecycle Washington as a participant and report and remit EHCs to PCA. The EHC must be remitted on all mercury-containing lights sold or supplied by the producer in or into Washington State and intended for retail sale on or after January 1, 2015, with the exception noted below.

    Sometimes it is more practical for a company that is not the legally obligated producer, such as the retailer or the distributor, to join the program and report and remit their sales directly to the program. The program is flexible in terms of which company in the supply chain becomes a participant, so long as there is assurance that the program receives the EHC for every mercury-containing light sold in Washington State at retail.

    To formalize the option where the retailer or distributor remits on behalf of the producer, the producer must have a binding agreement in place with the retailer or distributor and must notify PCA of any such arrangements to ensure all EHCs are properly recorded and remitted. A Supplier – Customer Remitter Determination Form must be provided to PCA as evidence that a binding agreement has been established.

  • As a retailer, will I join the program or will my supplier?

    In some cases the retailer may prefer to report and remit EHCs directly to the program, rather than to pay the EHCs to the supplier when they purchase lights. In this case, the retailer registers for LightRecycle Washington as a participant and is then responsible for reporting sales and remitting EHCs to the program directly. The producer is then no longer required to report and remit EHCs on the sale or supply of those lights sold to that retailer.

    To formalize this option where the retailer remits EHCs, the retailer must have a binding agreement in place with their suppliers and must notify PCA of any such arrangements to ensure all EHCs are properly recorded and remitted. A Supplier – Customer Remitter Determination Form must be provided to PCA as evidence that a binding agreement has been established.

    Retailers who become participants of LightRecycle Washington and report and remit EHCs are allowed to retain a portion of the EHC as reimbursement for any costs associated with the collection and remittance of the charge. The remitting retailer hold-back is $0.02 per unit, up to a maximum of $200 per reporting period.

  • As a distributor or wholesaler, will I join the program or will my supplier?

    In some cases the distributor or wholesaler may prefer to report and remit EHCs directly to the program, rather than to pay the EHCs to the supplier when they purchase lights. In this case, the distributor or wholesaler registers for LightRecycle Washington as a participant and is then responsible for reporting sales and remitting EHCs to the program directly. The producer is then no longer required to report and remit EHCs on the sale or supply of those lights sold to that distributor or wholesaler.

    A distributor or wholesaler who elects to report and remit EHCs directly to the program satisfies condition (d) of the definition of producer as follows: “Producer” means a person that: (d)(i) Sells or sold at wholesale or retail a mercury-containing light; (ii) does not have legal ownership of the brand; and (iii) elects to fulfill the responsibilities of the producer for that product.

    For this reason, distributors or wholesalers who elect to participate will be classified as producers, and not as remitting retailers, and therefore are not entitled to the remitting retailer hold-back.

    To formalize this option where the distributor or wholesaler remits EHCs, the distributor or wholesaler must have a binding agreement in place with their suppliers and must notify PCA of any such arrangements to ensure all EHCs are properly recorded and remitted. A Supplier – Customer Remitter Determination Form must be provided to PCA as evidence that a binding agreement has been established.

  • What is the remitting retailer hold-back?

    Retailers who become participants of LightRecycle Washington and report and remit EHCs directly to the program are allowed to retain a portion of the EHC as reimbursement for any costs associated with the collection and remittance of the charge. The remitting retailer hold-back is $0.02 per unit, up to a maximum of $200 per reporting period.

  • How do I get a participant number?

    You will receive a participant number when you register with the program. Your participant number will be automatically emailed to you when you complete the registration process.

  • How are EHCs reported and remitted to LightRecycle Washington by program participants?

    Participants must register with the program and report EHCs using the online registration and reporting system.

    Participants must report and remit EHCs on a monthly basis, and reports and remittances must be received by PCA by the end of the month following the reporting month. For example, applicable EHCs on sales of mercury-containing lights made from January 1 to 31, 2015 must be reported and received before the end of February 2015. Once a report has been submitted, the system automatically generates an invoice for the records of the participant. Payment can be made by Electronic Funds Transfer (ACH) or by check.

  • How do I register for the program?

    After reviewing the information provided in our FAQ and in the EHC policy, if you have determined that your company should participate in LightRecycle Washington, please register for the program using our online registration and reporting system.

  • How do I get more information?

    For more information, please contact us.