It may not be as colorful as the one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people-eater, but it’s way more earth friendly.

As part of its ongoing commitment to the environment, the Alaska Cruise Association donated Bulb Eaters® to nine Alaska communities.

A Bulb Eater® is a fluorescent bulb recycling system that has been successfully used for years on cruise ships in Alaska and has proven to be a safe way to dispose of used fluorescent bulbs. The machine not only crushes spent fluorescent lamps of any length into 100 percent recyclable material, it also captures more than 99.99 percent of the vapors released.

The Bulb Eater®, manufactured by Air Cycle Corporation of Illinois, can suck a lamp in about one second and the crushed glass is compacted into a 55-gallon drum for safe disposal and recycling.

A single, four-foot fluorescent tube contains from 5 to 50 milligrams of mercury. When conventional disposal methods are used, mercury vapors can travel more than 200 miles. Mercury has been associated with serious health issues, including blurred vision, numbness in limbs, speech impairment and birth defects. A Bulb Eater® captures the harmful mercury through its filtration system and pulls the contaminated air out of the drum to filter out the released powder and mercury vapor. The contaminated air then goes through a two-stage filtering process. A carbon filter at the end captures the mercury vapor and neutralizes it by converting the vapor to mercuric sulfide, which is non-hazardous. Used filters can also be recycled.

The Bulb Eater® offers better storage of lamps, easier handling, is safer for people and the environment and it reduces recycling costs. Thanks to this machine, millions of spent fluorescent bulbs have been diverted from landfills.

Scroll to Top