With the recent surge in compact fluorescent light bulb advertising and purchases we may be seeing the first highly obvious and nationally visible step in combating global warming. This not to say that recycling of household waste and industrial pollution controls are not important. But, rather it is something that people can easily do, see an immediate effect and know that they are helping to reduce global warming.A C.F.L. bulb vs. a standard incandescing unit lasts much longer before it burns out. The ratio is about eight times longer in the cheaper C.F.L. bulbs and 15x in the expensive ones. This will save the consumer the cost of buying new bulbs eight to 15 times more often.A C.F.L. bulb on the average uses 80% less power than the standard bulb. This means it pays for itself in a few months by saving electricity and then it will keep on saving money for the rest of its life. You can calculate your energy savings using C.F.L.’s by follow the link below.http://www.energystar.gov/ia/business/bulk_purchasing/bpsavings_calc/Calc_CFLs.xlsOne result of this longer life bulb will be something new to think about when people move. People will be taking their C.F.L. bulbs with them when they leave for a new residence.When C.F.L.”s and tube fluorescent lamps burn out what becomes of them? Of the 670 million C.F.L. and tube fluorescent lamps discarded in 2004, nearly 156 million (23.3%) were recycled and 76.7% were not recycled. The business sector recycles 29%, with only about 2% of residential lamps recycled.On the back of some of the packaging for C.F.L.’s there is a web site to look into if you want to recycle fluorescent bulbs called www.lamprecycle.org. Given Wal-Mart’s desire to sell 100 million C.F.L. bulbs in 2007and if only 2% are recycled then about 240,000 pounds of mercury will be put into the ecosystem. We have been told for years that the mercury buildup in fish like tuna and swordfish is very bad for us. Look the following web site for information on mercury’s toxic effects. http://www.cleartheair.org/mercury/mercuryhurtsWhy don’t we see public service announcements telling us where we can recycle these bulbs? How about a sign over the doorway of every store that sells these things telling us that they will take our burned out bulbs for recycling or where to bring them?If retailers want to help us save the planet, great, but do not stop with just selling us these products but help us recycle them as well. Complete the cycle and be a part of the solution and not the problem.If money needs to speak then there is the mercury for resale, tax breaks and not to mention the extra millions of people who will come to the stores. You know, they might even buy something besides light bulbs.
Think Global -Act Local!