Hi folks – writing a new post after a month. The old tungsten filament bulbs will soon be obsolete as the compact fluorescent lamps(CFLs) are here to stay. World over we have seen a rapid change of normal light bulbs to CFLs. This is a good change since we are talking about energy and money savings. To most people talking in terms of reductions in CO2 emissions do not make sense. What makes sense is talking in terms of savings in terms of money.
A CFL bulb uses up to 75% less energy than old fashioned bulbs. Every bulb changed means reduced demand for electricity which means lesser CO2 emissions, lower pollution, lower costs. That means cleaner healthier air, environmental and public health benefits. Each CFL lasts about 7 years. If every household in America replaced just one light bulb with Energy Star – qualified CFL, the reduction in CO2 emissions would be like taking 800,000 cars off American roads(www.energystar.gov). Through the ambitious Project Porchlight’s endeavors this could be a reality.
I first saw these bulbs in IKEA London way back in 2000. My small studio apartment in London had only a three light fixtures. I changed them all. Electricity is costly in UK. My monthly energy bill plummeted drastically due to use of CFLs. When I came to US and saw the wasteful light fixtures I was a bit amazed! Land of plenty it is! Also the fact that electricity is cheap in US as compared to Europe or Asia – makes people residing here less inclined to make any changes in this regard. But all this is changing slowly yet steadily. So CFLs have made way into our homes and are lighting up are lives.
Excited about the wonders of the new light many of us would not know what to do with the CFL after it is spent. Many of the fixtures we use today such as fluorescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps contain mercury and ballasts that contain PCB can be hazardous. Due to the trace amount of mercury the end of the life safe disposal is of concern. What happens to your old lighting fixtures when you buy new ones? They are probably trashed but it might not be the correct way of disposing of them. There are federal regulations on the disposal of ballasts and lamps in US and EU.
LAMPS: Mercury is a very deadly element when in contact at very high levels. All fluorescent and High-intensity discharge (HID) lamps contain small amounts of mercury. This amount may not affect your health but still needs to be disposed of correctly so the mercury will not accumulate. Just to be on the safe side it is better to consider all lamping waste to be hazardous.
This means that they have to be recycled or taken to a hazardous waste landfill. When these lamps are recycled they are smashed and the mercury is taken out; then the other parts of the lamp are reused.
There are some new developments in lamps that have lower mercury content that are approved by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and is safe to dispose of as solid waste but regulations in each state are different so be sure to check.
BALLASTS: If your old ballasts does not have a label stating "NO PCBs" then it does not contain PCB. Prior to 1979 all ballasts made in the U.S. contained PCBs.
If there's a Home Depot store in your city or town, you can simply drop your used CFL bulbs off at the store for safe recycling, free of charge.
Also check out www.earth911.org for the same.
For more information about compact fluorescent bulbs, visit http://www.energystar.gov/cfls
For more information about compact fluorescent bulbs and mercury, visit http://www.energystar.gov/mercury
So much for now, till the next post CIAO!