Monday, August 25, 2008

CFL’s and Mercury and Proper CFL disposal

CFLs and Mercury

CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury, so they cannot be thrown out in the trash. However, the mercury in CFLs represents a much less significant environmental hazard than incandescent bulbs because CFLs require much less electricity, and more than half of our nation's electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants—the largest U.S. source of mercury emissions.

In scientific words, the average coal-fired power plant emits only 3.2 milligrams of mercury for each CFL running six hours per day for five years, but emits nearly 15 milligrams of mercury for an incandescent bulb running the same amount of time, according to The Union of Concerned Scientists research. The difference far exceeds the approximately five milligrams present inside a CFL. Properly disposing of CFLs ensures the mercury in them remains contained.

Proper CFL disposal

What do you do with cfl's that you no longer can use since you are not suppose to put them in the regular garbage, Home Depot now has drop offs for proper disposal of CFL bulbs. Info about Home Depot's in store bulb recycling.

Now its easy to do the right thing. So if you have not switched do it, the upfront cost may be more than incandescent bulbs but the money you will save on not having to replace them and lower energy bills will quickly offset the cost. If you are worried about the whole mercury thing, it seems to be overreacted by a lot.

If the twisty light thing is what is stopping you then get yourself to a big hardware store, I frequent Lowe's but Home Depot has the same products. They have CFL's in all shapes and sizes now. Even some in color. I have even seen teardrop CFL's for use in chandeliers.

If you have used a CFL or two and were turned off by the difference in type of light that they give off, try switching to a lower watt, basically a 26 watt CFL is about equal to a 100 watt incandescent. Some people complain about the type of light, some feel its too "blue". There are many new CFL's that say softer light or things like that on them so the transition from incandescents will be easier on you eyes.

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