Aug 8, 2007

CFL(Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs) and Mercury Disposal Fears after Bulb Useful Life

The promotion of CFL or compact fluorescent light bulbs has risen almost in tandem with the rise in the green movement since the Katrina disaster.

Many large retailers have started campaigns to sell thousands of these bulbs in the next few years. We at Conservastore have a nice selection of Twist Style Compact Fluorescent bulbs in 14, 20, and 23 watt ratings and also carry Natural Spectrum or Daylight CFL bulbs.

Compact Fluorescent light bulbs do make sense for many applications, especially indoor table and floor lamps since they burn cooler and last up to 5 times longer (usually 8-10,000 hours) than standard incandescent bulbs.

There has been discussion about the correct disposal and possible risk of disposing of these bulbs since they contain minute amounts (approximately 4 milligrams) of mercury in their manufacture.

Most sources point out that the largest contributor of mercury to our environment is coal-fired electrical power producers.

Practically any product man produces has some component of manufacture that is damaging to the environment. [Getting a bit off the track, if the Wall Street analytical community would begin to value companies more on their total “smart” usage of raw materials including how the finished product is recycled after it’s useful life, than solely on shareholder return we believe that the environment would be greatly favored by production than as more often than not a casualty of production as it is now.]

The consensus of experts we read seem to believe the benefit of CFL’s far outweigh the negatives of the mercury disposal issue especially since the amount of mercury is small.

Recycling and recovery programs for CFL’s are beginning to spring up around the country. “To find a CFL recycling center near you, go to www.earth911.org …enter your zip code and select Go. Then click on Household Hazardous Waste and Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs. The site will identify the closest residential mercury recycling facility, mail disposal method, or hazardous waste facility.”

It is suggested that one bag the used CFl prior to disposal.


Wikipedia heavily influenced the contents of this discussion
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_fluorescent_lamp
and Home Power magazine August/September 2007

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