Ontario could ban compact fluorescent light bulbs from landfills

WATCH: A new report finds 90% of CFL bulbs are thrown away instead of being recycled. Christina Stevens has the details as to why this is a concern for the government.

TORONTO – Ontario is considering a total ban on disposing of compact fluorescent light bulbs in landfills because they contain mercury which can poison the environment.

Environment Minister Glen Murray says he’s in the middle of consultations with municipalities and industry groups to find ways to divert toxic waste from dumps, where they currently make up two to three per cent of materials.

Murray says there’s no consensus yet on the best way to make it easier for consumers to dispose of energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs so they don’t throw them in the trash.

He says officials are looking at issues such as having the different producers create a united depot system for returns and then imposing an outright ban.

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READ MORE: Where to recycle compact fluorescent lights

Currently, compact bulbs and florescent light tubes can be dropped off at depots in some municipalities and at some large, chain stores.

The NDP say there’s no point banning CFL bulbs from landfills if there’s no system for safe, easy disposal, and if consumers aren’t given clear information on packages that show items contain toxic materials that must be disposed of in a specific manner.

“My corner stores takes old batteries,” said New Democrat energy critic Peter Tabuns. “It should be that convenient so I can just go and drop (the bulbs) off there.”

The update to Ontario’s Waste Reduction and Diversion Act is expected to be passed in the legislature before the summer.

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