A bright idea

April 25, 2014
Kristin Smith

When Marpan Recycling President Kim Williams sees a problem, he tries to solve it. When he saw loads of valuable C&D debris being hauled to a landfill, he opened a recycling facility in Tallahassee, Fla., that could take it. But even before the Class III recycling facility opened, Williams had another pet project that involved recycling.

One of Marpan’s other businesses involved florescent lamp distribution to government agencies in Florida. When Williams learned of mercury contamination in the Florida Everglades, he knew that as a florescent lamp supplier, he had a responsibility.

“I thought it was important for us not to be putting florescent lamps in our waste stream, so from 1992 to 1993, I lobbied the Florida legislature for florescent lamps to be recycled,” he says.

Williams also travelled to Sweden to learn a process for safely recovering mercury from florescent lamps. Florida passed a law in 1993 requiring florescent lamps to be recycled. Williams built a florescent lamp recycling plant in Tallahassee in 1994. By 1998, Williams says the amount of mercury in the Everglades had been reduced.

“There is a lot we can do if we can find a problem, look for a solution and try to get everyone on the same page,” says Williams.