How do you throw out old flourescent light tubes without having broken glass fly all over the place? I am talking about 48 inch tubes. Any tips?
Use a bigger garbage can. If you have a handy dandy local hardware store that you bought the replacements from , I doubt they would mind if you tossed them in their dumpster. Unless you have a whole bunch of them.
Here is a link that might be useful: Disposal of Spent Fluorescent Light Tubes
Fluorescents contain mercury, which is highly toxic. Newer ones have smaller quantities of mercury, and the ones with green ends have so little that they're approved (by whom, I don't know ;-) for landfill disposal.
I don't think there's any law against homeowners trashing any fluorescent, but as a "good citizen" sort of thing, I take mine to the local household hazardous waste disposal site.
In my part of California it is supposedly illegal to put flourescent tubes in the trash as they are considered hazardous waste and are supposed to be brought to a hazardous waste disposal station. I just bought a television and was slapped with an $8.00 hazardous waste disposal fee on it in advance. They even say you are supposed to bring used flashlight batteries to a special hazardous waste disposal station, along with any used computer equipment. Most auto service places are charging hazardous waste disposal fees on oil changes and tires. I'm guessing most people just hide their hazardous waste in a plastic trash bag and put it out with their other trash. I don't think many are going to drive ten miles to a hazardous waste disposal station and then pay a fee to throw away a used flourescent bulb or flashlight battery.
I don't think many are going to drive ten miles to a hazardous waste disposal station and then pay a fee to throw away a used flourescent bulb or flashlight battery.
That's the idea behind building the disposal fee into the cost of the item. But they (whoever "they" are) still have to make it relatively convenient or the public mostly won't bother. Environmental concern just is not a high priority for most people, if they're even aware of the issues.
High tech waste is a big problem. For example, a CRT computer monitor contains over a pound and a half of lead, and smaller amounts of arsenic and mercury. It really shouldn't just go to the dump.
I'm weird, I guess. I save up waste for the HHW disposal site, and take the whole lot there once a summer.
I've also just recently started saving disposable batteries to recycle (there are a couple of places where you can ship them; it costs, though). This is actually kind of over the top because batteries today contain mostly benign materials and it doesn't really hurt to trash them. It's just that my workplace happens to generate a fair amount of this waste. I want to see them recycled, so I'm doing it myself.
I realize that most people wouldn't want to bother with the stuff I do, nor would they want the junk cluttering up the cellar. So it goes.
The solution might be that each homeowner be required to have a garbage can labeled hazardous waste and only hazardous waste could go into it. Then the garbage disposal company could pick it up in a separate truck, possibly only once a month instead of weekly. I dispose of my used engine oil at any of the local auto parts stores, all of which will acccept it for free. In my town two garbage trucks come down the street each week, one for normal trash and the other for yard waste like grass clippings, leaves, and branches, which are recycled into mulch. The homeowners are supposed to keep the stuff separated into separate trash cans.