Company launches site to feature recycling kits

LAWRENCEVILLE - For the environmental steward in everyone, recycling certain items just got easier. With the Gwinnett Recycling Center being rebuilt and gas prices still more than $4 per gallon, easier just might be better, too. All you'll need is a computer and a mailbox.

Waste Management Inc. this week launched an online service where consumers can order prepaid-postage kits for disposing of compact fluorescent light bulbs and batteries. With incandescent bulbs set to be retired from store shelves in 2012, that means 4 billion CFLs will be in use in the near future. And that's a lot of mercury that could end up in landfills when the bulbs burn out, Waste Management spokesperson JoAnn Birrell said.

"It's an easy, safe and convenient way to dispose of them," Birrell said. "We need to protect the environment."

The system works as easy as it sounds. For about $15, customers can visit www.thinkgreenfromhome.com and order recycling kits for either CFLs or batteries. Each kit can hold 15 bulbs or 4 pounds of batteries. When the packages are full, customers seal them and mail them. Birrell said Waste Management eventually plans to offer the service for small electronics devices as well.

"Communities across Georgia are becoming increasingly aware of the 2012 deadline for the use of CFLs and the need to properly dispose of CFLs, batteries and other electronic waste," spokesman Rich Cochrane said. "The Think Green From Home program makes recycling this waste as safe and convenient as possible."

Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful Executive Director Connie Wiggins had nothing but praise for the new service offering.

"We support what they are doing 100 percent," Wiggins said. She also said consumers need to be aware that recycling some materials is more expensive than others, especially when there isn't much of a demand for the bi-products. She said because of this reason, the cost for recycling shouldn't scare consumers away.

"Recycling is a complex process and is not the same for everything," she said. "Recycling isn't free."