The Environmental Protection Agency has a useful page on its web site: “Mercury-Containing Light Bulb (Lamp) Collection and Recycling Programs Where You Live“.
Recycling programs are not available in all areas.
According to the EPA:
Some household hazardous waste collection programs only collect these items once or twice a year, so residents will have to hold on to their light bulbs until the collection takes place.
The EPA fails to mention the best option for recycling your used compact fluorescent light bulbs: send them to Washington!
The address of EPA headquarters in Washington is:
Environmental Protection Agency
Ariel Rios Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
Send your light bulbs to Washington! They’re the experts. They’ll know what to do.
The Star-Ledger in New Jersey reports what looks like just another feel-good story about eco-nuts giving away free compact fluorescent light bulbs in a misguided attempt to save the planet:
A group of Bloomfield environmentalists will knock on township doors Saturday and hand out 2,000 free compact fluorescent bulbs.
But the story turns ugly when you get to the last sentence:
The bulbs were donated by Project Porchlight, a non-profit environmental organization based in Canada.
Now we’ve got “environmentalists” from foreign countries trying to endanger America’s health and pollute America’s environment by giving unwary Americans dangerous mercury-containing compact fluorescent light bulbs! Where will this madness end? How would Canadians like it if we distributed cigarettes and guns to children in Canada?
At a minimum, we should send some of our used compact fluorescent light bulbs to Canada’s parliament in Ottawa.
A company called MySchoolLights.com is using innocent children to sell dangerous compact fluorescent light bulbs! Oh, the shame!
MySchoolLights.com even spreads propaganda to children through their schools:
Our CFL fundraisers stress the educational aspects of switching to CFLs for both students and parents. Each school participating in our CFL fundraiser will receive materials to help students learn about energy use and what they can do today to save energy.
Will the compact fluorescent light bulbs fanatics will stop at nothing?
Compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury, which is a dangerous and hazardous material. But that’s not the only reason not to like them. Gomestic.com lists some of the other disadvantages of compact fluorescent light bulbs:
- CFLs evolve and newer models are getting better and better all the time. Still, they are not as versatile as incandescent lamps, and can’t be used for every household requirement. For example, CFLs usually take some time between being switched on and achieving full brightness. This time is even longer as the CFL approaches the end of its life. Cold temperatures make the situation even worse, with some CFLs not even starting in cold weather.
- Another downside for CFLs is that their lifespan is shortened considerably when they are switched on and off within short time frames. Think of the light that comes on automatically as you approach your garage, and then turns back off after a few minutes. CFLs are not a good option for this or other light activated motion sensors.
- CFLs are also not very suitable for dimming. If you require a dimmer controlled light source, CFLs are not a good option. Dimming shortens a CFL’s lifespan considerably, and the dimming range is disappointing. You’d really be better off sticking with a regular, incandescent light bulb for dimmed rooms.
- CFLs, unlike incandescent lamps, emit ultra violet and infra red light. The ultra violet light may damage paintings. The infra red, on the other hand, may interfere with remote-controlled devices such as your TV – since these will interpret the infra red light as a signal.
It’s outrageous that Uncle Sam is banning incandescent light bulbs and forcing Americans to use dangerous and inferior compact fluorescent light bulbs. So if you have a compact fluorescent light bulb that doesn’t work any more, send it to Washington. Let them know what you think about their meddling.
Uttar Pradesh is the largest state in India. It has a population of over 190,000,000.
The Times of India reports that the Uttar Pradesh state government has banned the use of incandescent light bulbs in all government buildings and mandated the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs instead:
The orders issued from chief secretary Atul Kumar Gupta on Thursday have been sent to all principal secretaries, secretaries, divisional commissioners, district magistrates, heads of the departments, managing directors of public enterprises and corporations and chief executive officers to ensure mandatory use of Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) in all government buildings.
The orders further state that out-lived incandescent bulbs should be replaced only with CFLs. The chief secretary has asked all the officials to intimate the power department about the steps taken by them towards energy conservation within 15 days.
The state government has also banned the use of incandescent (conventional) bulbs with immediate effect in all new government buildings coming up. The orders hold true for all government buildings, government-aided institutions, boards, corporations, autonomous bodies and organisations.
Let’s hope the government workers in Uttar Pradesh know how dangerous compact fluorescent light bulbs are. Let’s hope they dispose of their used CFL bulbs properly. Maybe they should send them to chief secretary Atul Kumar Gupta in Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh.
Why should you send your used compact fluorescent light bulbs to Washington? Because Washington is forcing you to use these dangerous and inferior bulbs.
An editorial in the New Haven Register explains:
The bulb that has lighted American homes for more than 100 years faces possible extinction in three years thanks to energy-efficiency standards set by Congress in 2007…. Congress has decided Americans should use fluorescent lights, which are more efficient.
Compact fluorescent lights have a number of drawbacks. A major one is that they cost far more than incandescent bulbs. And, they are slow to light, can’t fit in some lamps because of their size, give off less light than a comparable incandescent bulb and produce a cold, unflattering light. On top of all that, fluorescent lights contain mercury, so they should be treated as hazardous waste when thrown out.
If Congress is smart enough to tell you what kind of light bulbs to use, then Congress is smart enough to dispose of your used and broken CFL light bulbs. Send your light bulbs to Washington.
LED light bulbs are as energy-efficient as compact fluorescent light bulbs, according to a study reported in the New York Times:
Conducted by the Siemens Corporate Technology Centre for Eco Innovations (Siemens is the parent of Osram and Sylvania), the report examines the energy needed to create and power an LED lamp. Even the energy needed to ship a lamp from the factory in China to an installation in Europe was taken into account.
The study used a 25,000-hour LED lamp life as a constant, comparing the energy needed throughout its life to that used for 25 1,000-hour incandescents and 2.5 10,000-hour compact fluorescents.
The findings, according to a summary of the study: today’s LED lamps are essentially as energy efficient as compact fluorescents, in the amount of energy needed to create, recycle and provide light. Osram said it expected those numbers to improve as LEDs become more energy efficient.
LED light bulbs don’t contain mercury, so they’re much safer than compact fluorescent light bulbs.
If you decide to replace your dangerous CFL bulbs with LED bulbs, make sure you dispose of the CFL bulbs properly. Send them to Washington!