As you may have heard,
Canada has delayed their incandescent bulb ban or “phase out”.
More about the decision can be read here.
Meanwhile, the lack of recycling has emerged as a main reason for the delay…
(From CBC Canada Dec 30 2011 slightly edited)
A lack of recycling options for the mercury-containing compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), touted by government as the environmentally friendly lighting alternative, has in part led to a delay in new federal energy efficiency regulations.
The regulations, which ban 75- and 100-watt incandescent bulbs, were supposed take effect Jan. 1, 2012.
But last month, the federal government quietly delayed that ban by two years, citing recycling issues and “perceived health effects.”
The bulbs contain mercury, a dangerous toxin, and need to be disposed of correctly.
According to Environment Canada, less than 10 per cent of CFLs are recycled. And tens of millions are sold each year.
“[Mercury] can affect our neurological development, especially in children. And for pregnant women, it’s a danger,” said Josh Brandon of the Winnipeg-based Green Action Centre.
“We often think of landfills as a permanent solution — that what we put in the landfills stays in the landfills.
“But landfills eventually do break down. And when they do, the toxic materials like mercury can leach into the environment, polluting our groundwater and our soil.”
Brandon says the mercury from one CFL can contaminate thousands of litres of water.
And if you break a CFL, Health Canada has extensive cleanup instructions that include leaving the room for 15 minutes to avoid mercury vapours.
Few provinces have programs in place to deal with CFLs, and most programs are voluntary.
British Columbia, which passed its own set of energy efficiency regulations on Jan. 1, 2011, requires manufacturers and retailers to develop an end of life plan for CFLs.
But other provinces have minimal, if any, programs in place.
Some big box stores like Home Depot will take them back.
For smaller retailers like Pollock’s Hardware Co-op in Winnipeg, there are few options. General manager Mike Wolchock said he had no luck when he tried to organize a recycling program two years ago.
Environment Canada says it’s working on regulations to make manufacturers recycle the bulbs, but these won’t be in place until 2013.
Some companies are also making CFLs with less mercury.
For the time being, Curran Faris is keeping CFLs out of his daughter’s bedroom, in case a bulb breaks.
“It’s one of those things — as a consumer we should be told that information, not that these are the new miracle bulbs that can stop global warming.”
The light bulb ban is particularly wrong for Canada and several similar American states, as covered on http://ceolas.net/#li11x and relating to energy use, emissions, Canadian household size and lamp variety, cold switch-on conditions, heat replacement effect, existing CFL programs etc with references