Disposing of CFLs with mercury

Ed Waage
According to current California State law, fluorescent bulbs (which contain mercury) over 4 feet in length need to be taken to a hazardous materials collection facility (one wonders about the level of compliance). The CFL's currently appear to fall into the category of other hazardous waste containing mercury which

shall not be collected by a curbside household hazardous waste collection program unless the waste is contained in secure packaging that prevents breakage and spillage.
Yet the California legislature is poised to pass legislation to require that we use these CFL bulbs in our homes, to require that the amount of mercury be held to a minimum and to require that the CFL bulbs can be recycled for free. The proposed legislation is silent about broken bulbs. The legislature wants to both require CFL's but also to eliminate any hazards from such use. It is a classic example of wanting to have it both ways.

According to current California State law, fluorescent bulbs (which contain mercury) over 4 feet in length need to be taken to a hazardous materials collection facility (one wonders about the level of compliance). The CFL's currently appear to fall into the category of other hazardous waste containing mercury which

shall not be collected by a curbside household hazardous waste collection program unless the waste is contained in secure packaging that prevents breakage and spillage.
Yet the California legislature is poised to pass legislation to require that we use these CFL bulbs in our homes, to require that the amount of mercury be held to a minimum and to require that the CFL bulbs can be recycled for free. The proposed legislation is silent about broken bulbs. The legislature wants to both require CFL's but also to eliminate any hazards from such use. It is a classic example of wanting to have it both ways.