Improvements to mercury-light disposal program signed into law

Auburn Reporter

Following the legislative session, Gov. Jay Inslee endorsed a program update for disposing lights containing mercury.

Sen. Joe Fain (R-Auburn) and Auburn City Councilmember Bill Peloza worked to secure passage of the changes. The legislation updates an existing stewardship program created in 2010 to facilitate responsible disposal of lights with mercury given the public health and environmental dangers.

"Keeping people safe by reducing accidental or unknown exposures to mercury is critical to public health," Fain said. "Councilmember Peloza's work and advocacy to improve this legislation and get it through the legislative process was incredibly important. On behalf of Auburn residents I'd like to thank him for sharing his time and expertise."

The state Department of Ecology will oversee the program, which was updated through broad participation by stakeholders. Consumers who purchase bulbs containing mercury will be able to dispose of them at collection stations found at existing hazardous waste facilities, stores where the bulbs are sold and recycling sites throughout the state.

"It was an honor to stand beside Rep. (Sam) Hunt, Sen. Fain and Gov. Inslee when he signed ESHB 2246, the Mercury-Light Lamp Stewardship Program," said Peloza, who has been a member of the City Council since 2004. "This bill is an environmental movement and partnership between government entities and industry."

Lawmakers approved the legislation during this year's 60-day session that ended March 13. Inslee signed the bill into law on March 28. The law goes into effect June 12.