Carefree’s recycling effort gains national attention

By Curtis Riggs | October 8, 2008

Bob CoadyCoady visits both coasts to talk bulb recycling
CAREFREE – The Town’s fluorescent bulb recycling program could serve as a model for programs in other communities throughout the nation.

In August, Carefree Town Councilman Bob Coady, who heads up Carefree’s recycling effort, went to Washington, D.C. to talk to Texas Congressman Ted Poe about an anticipated glut of CFL fluorescent bulbs from China that will require proper disposal in coming years.

Last month he traveled to Sacramento, Calif. to speak to Sen. George Runner, Vice Chairman of California’s Environmental Affairs Commission, and Mark Rappaport, a California Household Hazardous Waste official, about the need for proper disposal of the small CFL bulbs to avoid groundwater mercury contamination. The concern in California is that while residents are required to properly recycle the CFLs and fluorescent tube lights few cities have proper disposal programs.

“Carefree’s program could be a model across the nation,” Coady said. Poe and the California leaders like it because it is “simple, safe and cost effective.”

The Carefree bulb-recycling program works well because residents are able to drop off their used bulbs at the Ace Hardware Store in Carefree or at monthly recycling events. The bulbs are then crushed in the E-Lampinator bulb crushing machine the Town purchased for $4,300 a couple of years ago. The bulbs are then recycled properly at a Maricopa County facility.

Coady’s trips to Washington, D.C. and California were made with Ed Domanico, the inventor of the Lampinator machine, and Dr. Joseph DeMaria, a scientist who is concerned about groundwater contamination because of improper recycling of fluorescent bulbs.