Can Tritium Exit Signs be Recycled?
Tritium exit sign recycling is a trivial topic that often confuses building owners seeking a less costly, eco-friendly egress compliance option. These identifiers are regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) because they contain a form of radioactive hydrogen gas called Tritium. A few details are essential before deciding to use these products to meet state egress regulations. Tritium identifiers have specific handling requirements since a radioactive gas is housed in each egress component. A busted tube allows the gas to escape into the atmosphere, which can be harmful in large concentrations. The NRC regulates these signs to prevent improper disposal by building owners. They entail a vast amount of paperwork, cleanup supervision, and an increased disposal cost as opposed to alternative choices such as photoluminescent identifiers.
Handling Requirements of the NRC
Signs of this nature must be registered under the purchaser’s name and remain installed in the original facility. Transferring is only permitted at times when the facility has been purchased by another party. Paperwork showing the new owners name, address, and license number must be filed immediately. These documents must also contain the date of transfer and an identification number for each transferred identifier. Maintenance crews are required to follow detailed handling procedures during tube changes to prevent a breakage. Additionally, owners are required by law to report a damaged tube. The paperwork, costs, and disposal practices associated with Tritium identifiers cause them to be a less ideal choice for owners desiring to affordably implement greener practices in buildings.
Removal of Tritium Egress Products
Tritium exit sign recycling involves a number of steps that are not required by more recent self-luminous choices. To dispose of one sign, an owner has to obtain an RGA number and NRC transfer notification letter through a licensed disposal company. Paperwork has to be completed in order to obtain the necessary documents for starting the process. Information such as the manufacturer name, manufactured date, model number, and serial number must be recorded for each sign prior to packaging. A visual inspection should be performed to ensure no breakages or punctures exist and all mounting items have to be removed. Each sign must be wiped off prior to placement in a new, clean cardboard box for mailing to the disposal company.
Recyclable is a Loose Term
Tritium exit sign recycling is a three step process where the frame and housing are reconditioned to be placed in new products. The coated tubes are emptied by the disposal company who returns the gas to a licensed trading partner for reuse. The residue covered glass is sent off to a landfill to be buried according to NRC removal specifications. While this may seem like a reasonable recycling process, the risk of releasing Tritium into the environment is still fairly high as the tube emptying process takes place. Additionally, the guarantee of only phosphor residue remaining in the tubes during landfill dumping is minimal. These signs still pose danger to the environment even when handling guidelines are followed precisely. Photoluminescent choices offer the same perks with a longer duration of life and are one-hundred percent recyclable for a more eco-friendly implementation.