CBS 2 Chicago wbbm7801059 670 The Score

Local

Machine ‘Eats’ Fluorescent Bulbs At Air Cycle Corporation

Air Cycle

(Credit: Air Cycle Corporation)

Don't Miss This

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up

LISLE, Ill. (CBS) — At Air Cycle Corporation in Lisle, they live by the phrase, “Saving our planet one bulb at a time.”

And as WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports in this week’s Made in Chicago, if you visit Air Cycle, you will find a machine that eats fluorescent bulbs whole.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports


Chief operating officer Tim Racke says Air Cycle has a system for companies, hospitals and schools, which use hundreds of fluorescent lamps – all of which contain mercury. The company ships the lamps to recycling centers.

But the star at Air Cycle is the Bulb Eater. The mechanism is composed of a series of blades like a weed eater, and fits onto a 55-gallon drum to capture the glass.

But most importantly, it has a carbon container to capture the mercury, allowing the entire bulb to be recycled.

“You can’t put hazardous lamps into a landfill,” Racke said.

Racke says Air Cycle is helping to reduce costs and storage space to save the earth.

“There are 600 to 700 million lamps burned out annually, just in the United States,” Racke said.

The 20 employees at the Lisle office – including the Australian shepherd Tucker, the company’s mascot – and a handful of sales reps around the country, are designing marketing, selling the bulb eater.

By the end of the year, a new Bulb Eater is expected, run completely on software.