WM Unveils ‘Pay To Recycle’ CFL Program – Will Consumers Buy?

by | Jul 17, 2008

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cflrecycling.jpgWaste Management has launched an online recycling service; mainly compact florescent lamps, which contains mercury and can be hazardous to the environment. (Some areas laws are in place against improper disposal of CFLs.)

The site, ThinkGreenFromHome.com, lets consumers mail in their old CFL in a special bulb safe recycling box, which holds up to 15 bulbs, for the price of $14.95. The box is then processed at LampTracker, a subsidiary of Waste Management.

However, many other retailers accept these bulbs on special recycling days and Home Depot will recycle them for free every day at collection areas in stores.

A WSJ article questions if consumers will pay to recycle them.

Will consumers be turned off to CFLs by WM’s move? On the one hand retailers like Wal-Mart tell people to save energy and trim emissions by paying more money for longer-lasting CFLs. Now, consumers are receiving the marketing message that not only do they pay more upfront, but they also need to shell out $15 to get rid of them.

“Despite a growing interest in CFLs nationwide, there are still barriers to adoption in this country, including end of life issues,” Andy Ruben, vice president of corporate strategy/sustainability for Wal-Mart, said last year. What’s unclear is if a pay to recycle program will help.

One respondent to the WSJ article wondered how long it would take to collect the 15 bulbs for the box if CFLs are touted as longer-lasting:

I use them and will not recycle at my expense. Sorry but do not believe anyone who says they will. If they last so long how many years will you hold on to them just to recycle a dozen bulbs? Think real.

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