Help MASG get those light globes recycled!

By MASG - Mount Alexander Sustainability Group

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A little bit of context

In 2013 Kate, a dedicated volunteer at MASG, created a light globe recycling program and has been managing it ever since. She is passionate about the environment and has done a lot of research into just how bad it is to send light globes to the tip.

Most light globes contain mercury, it is what gives the globes that white, frosted look. When the globes break methylmercury gets released and this is highly TOXIC and a terrible pollutant in landfill.

The city of Sydney did a great info sheet about it. Follow this link:

The mercury in one light bulb is a tiny amount, but is so toxic it is enough to pollute 15,000 litres of drinking water to an unsafe level.

Kate started small with 80 kgs recycled for the year, but by 2015, demand was so great that MASG installed the recycling skip at Lawrence and Hanson electrical retailers in Castlemaine. Since then local electricians chave been able to drop used globes there, and the lighting waste collected at at various points in the community has also been emptied there.

Since 2014, we have collected and recycled over 1600 kgs of mercury-containing waste, every part of which is processed and made into products such as thermometers and dental amalgam and solar panels (mercury), fertilizer (phosphor powder), insulation batts (glass) and aluminium cans (tube/globe ends) etc.

The Mount Alexander Shire Council also used our skip until 2017, when they set up a wheelie bin drop off point at Castlemaine Landfill. This has not really been advertised and many people have kept enjoying the convenience of dropping their globes at local businesses like the MASG and Hub offices, Beard's Hardware in Campbell’s Creek, Legion Office Works or straight to the skip at Lawrence and Hanson.

But there’s a problem

Recycling can cost up to $2,500/skip load, which equals approximately 400 kgs of toxic mercury-containing lighting waste. Until recently skip removal was paid for by grants out of Mount Alexander Shire Council’s Community Grants Scheme. However, we have been unable to access this funding the last two years because there are only so many community grants available each year. MASG has paid for the last skip to be taken away out of our own funds.

MASG is a small not for profit organisation and we have many other sustainability and environmental projects to manage. Most people assume that recycling is paid for and taken care of by council, and that is true to a degree, Council did pay for the first few years via community grants. However, it has not been compulsory for local councils to recycle e-waste which is why Kate and MASG started the program. Recently the state government has announced that they will impliment a ban on dumping e-waste into land fill, which forced local council to find a way to manage these items.

Mount Alexander Shire Council is working to build a system with the Loddon Mallee Waste and Resource Recovery Group and other councils in the Loddon Mallee region to collectively take care of e-waste.

This is a great development and MASG is very happy to phase out our involvement in light globe recycling and hand over to Mount Alexander Shire Council.

Here’s what we’re doing about it

So all we need to do is empty this last skip full of used lighting and take it to melbourne to get recycled.

This will cost around $2,500 - the price may vary depending on how full the skip is... and it is pretty full!

As it may take some time for council to lock in a new system of managing these items we will continue to provide wheelie bins at Lawrence and Hanson. These can be taken to recycling centres at a lower cost than the skip but will have to be done more frequently. We estimate that a year of managing these wheelie bins will cost about $500.

So after this skip is emptied you can still use the bins provided at L&H or you can contact council to find out about the new e-waste systems that are being put in place. Other options are to use the coucil provided bins at the Castlemaine Landfill or take the globes to Eaglehawke Tip.

You can help!!

Donations to this crowd fundng campaign are tax deductable!

The skip can carry 400kg of used lighting and it is almost full. It costs around $2,500 to take way. We also want another $500 to pay for the wheelie bins which will help bridge the gap between the removal of this skip and the new system implimented by Council in the next year or so.

Any help you can give us will be so much appreciated. Some indication of what your donations mean can be seen on once you click on the 'donate' button. But name an amount, we'll love you for it.

Check out our website to find out about more of the things we do.

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