Money-saving bulbs low energy bulbs? (updated)
One of the several CFL light bulbs in my house stopped working last night. This is maybe the fourth or fifth CFL bulb in my house that has lasted less than a year, despite the claims of advocates that they have a longer life than incandescent bulbs. They certainly cost a lot more money to buy or replace, so I suspect that I have saved nothing, and may indeed be losing money. Not to mention all the energy expended in manufacturing the complex bulbs.
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.
Update: Ed Waage has done my research for me (thanks, Ed!):
Regarding your expired CFL's, The Berkeley website says you have to take these bulbs to a recycling center called the Community Conservation Center. Also, California law apparently states that all fluorescent bulbs, including CFL's, must be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility. There is also an interesting statistic that
there were 15,555,556 fluorescent lamps sold in California in the year 2001. According to survey results published in the report, only 0.21% of these lamps were recycled.
Even thought the lamp manufacturers say that their "green" fluorescent lamps are not hazardous waste, they really are.
We wrote the rules! All fluorescent lamps contain mercury vapor. Some lamp manufacturers have engineered lamps that can pass the federal hazardous waste threshold, either by reducing the amount of mercury used in the lamp, or by placing materials in the lamp that help the lamp pass the federal hazardous waste tests. We are so concerned about how toxic mercury is, that California's hazardous waste rules for lamps state that a lamp with ANY added mercury is a hazardous waste, and you must dispose of it as either hazardous or as a universal waste.
Perhaps as a public service Wal-Mart and other retailers can stock hazmat suits in the light bulb section of their stores.
What precautions should I take when using CFLs in my home?
CFLs are made of glass and can break if dropped or roughly handled ..
How should I clean up a broken fluorescent bulb?
EPA recommends the following clean-up and disposal guidelines:
1. Open a window and leave the room (restrict access) for at least 15 minutes.
2. Remove all materials you can without using a vacuum cleaner.
* Wear disposable rubber gloves, if available (do not use your bare hands).
* Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard.
* Wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel or disposable wet wipe.
* Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces and powder.
3. Place all cleanup materials in a plastic bag and seal it.
* If your state permits you to put used or broken CFLs in the garbage, seal the CFL in two plastic bags and put into the outside trash (if no other disposal or recycling options are available).
* Wash your hands after disposing of the bag.
4. The first time you vacuum the area where the bulb was broken, remove the vacuum bag once done cleaning the area (or empty and wipe the canister) and put the bag and/or vacuum debris, as well as the cleaning materials, in two sealed plastic bags in the outdoor trash or protected outdoor location for normal disposal.
Roughly translated, cleanup after a CFL bulb breaks is: (a) evacuate the house for a while, and then (b) clean up while wearing a traditional hazmat suit. Yes, it's... just... that... simple.
It reminds me of a Super Happy Fun Ball, updated for the Al Gore era of eco-hysteria.