San Benito County Integrated Waste Management
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Residents of San Benito County can now conveniently recycle their unbroken fluorescent lamps for free at True Value, located at 1260 Fourth St. in Hollister, according to a press release from the county. 

The grant project also includes the distribution of more than 600 coupons to San Benito County residents valued at $10, applicable towards the purchase of LEDs, redeemable only at the Hollister True Value hardware store.

In early 2022, San Benito County Integrated Waste Management (SBCIWM) was awarded a grant from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to expand access to convenient recycling opportunities for Household Hazardous Waste (HHW), including fluorescent light recycling, and provide eco-friendly alternatives such as Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs), says the press release.

All fluorescent lights contain mercury, a potent and persistent neurotoxin, according to county staff. Fluorescent lights that break pose a very serious health risk to consumers and solid waste management workers. Fluorescent lights are considered HHW at end-of-life and must be disposed of at a designated location. It is illegal to dispose of fluorescent lights in the household trash or recycling.

LED alternatives are better for people and the environment, experts say. LEDs do not contain any mercury. 

They are more energy efficient, too. Because LEDs use half as much electricity as fluorescents, retrofitting a small office would save $6,000 over a typical LED lamp’s lifetime, while a school could save as much as $24,000, says the press release. LEDs also reduce replacement costs and waste because they last up to three times longer than fluorescents, and there is no need to pay for hazardous waste disposal. 

Unbroken, compact and T12 linear fluorescent lights can now be recycled for free during regular business hours at True Value Hardware.

San Benito County residents can also bring their fluorescent lights and other household hazardous waste—including their batteries and paint—to the monthly Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event at John Smith Road Landfill every third Saturday of the month from 9am to 12pm. 

Monthly Household Hazardous Waste Collection

When: Every third Saturday of the month from 9am-12pm. Next date is Dec. 17.

Where: John Smith Road Landfill, 2650 John Smith Rd., Hollister. 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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