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 positve effect and know that they are helping to reduce global warming. A C.F.L. bulb vs. a standard incandescing light lasts much longer before it burns out. The ratio is about eight times longer in the cheaper C.F.L.â€™s and 15x in the expensive ones. The more costly bulbs will save the consumer the cost of buying new ones 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. My last electric bill had about a 25% up charge for expensive electricity the company had to buy. If you want to calculate your energy savings using C.F.L.â€™s just follow this link and crunch some numbers.
One practical 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.
Some people have been asking about C.F.L.â€™s that can be used with a dimmer switch or a three-way lamp. There are all there and more. There are even decorative bulbs, bug light bulbs and flood lamps. Checkout this link and youâ€™ll get a pretty good idea of what is available.
With all the good that C.F.L.â€™s can do for the environment and your bottomline there is a dark side. My father would have said â€˜Now that the love fest is over, whatâ€™s the down side?â€™.
When C.F.L.â€™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 recycled 29%, with only about 2% of residential lamps recycled.
Nearly all flourecent bulbs contain mercury. Not very much, but it adds up. On the back of most of the packaging for C.F.L.â€™s there is a web site to look into if you want to recycle fluorescent bulbs called www.lamprecycle.org. Given Wal-Martâ€™s desire to sell 100 million C.F.L. bulbs in 2007 to homeowners and 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 at the following web site for information on mercuryâ€™s toxic effects.
Why donâ€™t we see public service announcements telling us where we can recycle these bulbs? How about a sign over the doorway of every store selling these things that tells us they will take our burned out bulbs for recycling or where we can 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 to business owners then there is the collected mercury for resale, tax breaks and not to mention the extra millions of people who will come through their stores to recycle C.F.L.â€™s.
You know, they might even buy something besides light bulbs.
Think Global – Act Local