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New business recycles light bulbs that contain mercury

Cam Burns
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Natalia Mills Special to the Post IndependentCody Skurupey, owner of the new company Brite Ideas, demonstrates the equipment his company uses to crush burned-out fluorescent light bulbs and safely extract the minute amounts of mercury that they contain without releasing the mercury into the environment. The machine can accept all sorts of bulb shapes, including long tubes, horseshoe and corkscrew bulbs.
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A five-year resident of the Roaring Fork Valley who sells lighting supplies recently had a bright idea, and is now taking on the challenge of recycling light bulbs and other devices that contain mercury.

“The valley desperately needed a mercury light bulb collection site,” said Cody Skurupey, who started Brite Ideas Bulb Recycling earlier this year. “The EPA estimates that 640 million mercury light bulbs end up in our landfills every year.”

Skurupey works at All Phase Electric Supply in Glenwood Springs and a few months ago moved into sales. He admits that before he transitioned into his new position, even he wasn’t sure which bulbs contained mercury or how to dispose of old bulbs that did.



So he decided to do something about it.

After some research, he found a company called Air Cycle that makes machines that safely crush old mercury-containing lamps. Skurupey invested $4,300 in an Air Cycle Bulb Eater and another roughly $2,000 in other supplies, and launched Brite Ideas in January.



To see how the equipment works, watch the 2-minute video on YouTube: http://bit.ly/brite-idea

“I recycle any lamps that contain mercury,” he said. “This includes linear fluorescent, compact fluorescent, high pressure sodium, metal halide and metal vapor bulbs. Not only that, we also accept electronic ballasts and magnetic ballasts.”

The Bulb Eater is an interesting device. It’s part grinder, part vacuum.

“It sits on top of a 55-gallon steel drum and crushes the lamps while containing the fumes and waste,” said Skurupey. “It meets all OSHA and EPA regulations.

“I schedule a pick-up with Air Cycle Corp. and they come and collect the barrels. The waste is then sorted through and processed at one of their facilities. Air Cycle provides Brite Ideas Bulb Recycling with a certificate of recycling, which in turn allows us to provide recycling certificates to our customers.

“This is especially important for general and electrical contractors, as well as business owners who want to potentially avoid hefty fines from the EPA for improperly disposing of mercury light bulbs,” Skurupey said.

The Bulb Eater sucks potentially dangerous fumes through three filters and releases clean air. The solid material leftover is a benign light bulb, Skurupey said. Once the barrel is full, Skurupey seals it up and starts over with a new barrel.

When he has a handful of barrels, he schedules a pick-up from Air Cycle, which sells the materials, including mercury, back to industries that use it.

Skurupey charges a nominal fee for the service, and has a collection site at All Phase Electric Supply, 5392 County Road 154, at the turnoff to CMC’s Spring Valley campus.

Skurupey plans to offer a pick up service, which will be subject to an additional fee.

So far, Skurupey has recycled only about 150 bulbs, but he’s certain that number will grow.

“This isn’t about making money,” Skurupey said. “This is about education and awareness.

“Brite Ideas has three primary goals: to raise awareness of the harmful effects on our environment and our health due to improper disposal of mercury light bulbs, to educate the community on which bulbs contain mercury, and to provide a mercury collection site and disposal service for the Roaring Fork Valley.”

Contact Skurupey at 513-504-6887 or briteideasbr@gmail.com for more information.

“Every day I keep a bulb from going in the landfill is a good day,” he said.


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