Bulb-eating device streets ahead of its time

IT'S not the prettiest invention ever devised, but a new device at Lismore City Council's Recycling and Recovery Centre is doing big things to help the environment.

Resembling a 40-gallon drum with a snorkel, the council's new fluorescent lighting processor, the Bulb Eater, keeps mercury from fluoro lights, including new low-energy lights, out of landfill.

A new partnership project between the council and Country Energy means thousands of worn-out street light bulbs from across the Northern Rivers will join the fluorescent bulbs from homes and businesses already being fed to the machine.

“We are now crushing all the fluorescent tubes and bulbs collected from the community, along with the street light bulbs collected by Country Energy,” Lismore City Council general manager Paul O'Sullivan said.

Country Energy regional general manager Richard Wake said the energy company maintained more than 21,000 street lights on the Northern Rivers.

“This is a big win for the environment,” he said.

The bulbs are crushed in the new processor, which collects the mercury from within the bulbs and stores it in a carbon filter, keeping the toxic heavy metal out of the environment. The crushed bulbs and tubes are sent away for recycling and all the materials are recycled into new products.

Community collection points for fluorescent lighting have been established at the Lismore Recycling and Recovery Centre, the Lismore City Council Corporate Centre and CBD office, Bunnings Warehouse, Cetnaj Electrical, Haymans Electrical and the Nimbin Recycling Centre.



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