A surge in the number of mercury-bearing energy-efficient light bulbs in use in Minnesota is expected to overwhelm recycling programs in the next few years and there’s no plan yet on how to recycle more of them… The number of recycled compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) available for recycling in the state is expected to rise from 346,000 in 2008 to 2,419.000 in 2011 as federal and state energy efficiency mandates kick in. Minnesota’s 2008 CFL recycling rate was one of the highest among the states at an estimated 37%, and much of the Gopher State has nearby recycling options. But many of the state’s consumers aren’t aware that CFLs need to be recycled to contain the mercury. While 73.1% of the state’s households use at least one CFL, only 39% of respondents to a survey knew that recycling of the bulbs is required by Minnesota law. Local household hazardous waste (HHW) collection programs receive the majority of Minnesota’s recycled CFLs, with home improvement and hardware stores taking back the bulk of the rest. Because most of the local HHW programs are largely funded by county taxes, it’s unclear whether or how funding to expand them will be made available.If the state’s recycling rate doesn’t improve, Minnesotans will soon be throwing over 1,500,000 CFL bulbs in the trash every year. That’s enough mercury to pollute 1,000,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels every year in each of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes.
Send Your Light Bulbs To Washington
All light bulbs have usage advantages. People should feel perfectly free to use and enjoy CFLs and LEDs along with incandescents.
But pushing the use of any bulb is wrong: And CFLs are being pushed on consumers, in energy saving campaigns, in CFL replacement programs, and lately also via regulations, as the only practical replacement alternative, which also happens to be more profitable for the light bulb manufacturers.
"Hey, you can still use energy efficient incandescents like Halogens, and LEDs that show such promise!!" Certainly - as said - all light bulbs have their advantages. But that does not make them worthy replacements.
Replacement Halogen and similar incandescents are still different from simple incandescents in light quality and other respects, apart from costing much more for marginal savings, which is why neither consumers or politicians like them much. No "Halogen replacement program" in any American state!
Besides: All known general service incandescents including touted Halogens will progressively be banned on the enacted EISA 45 lumen per W end regulation standard. That's right. The politicians don't tell you that. USA regulations including updates on repeal bills in local states (legislated Texas June 2011)
LEDs meanwhile have still greater differences, cost much more, and have particular development issues around brightness, omnidirectionality, and broad spectrum light quality.
That is why the replacement push is to use CFLs - as also seen in post-ban Europe. Unfortunately, whatever the CFL energy saving advantages, politicians also choose to hide, obfuscate, or ignore the disadvantages relating to this type of lighting.Therefore this blog seeks to highlight some of these issues, with appropriate references. Not least of which is the issue of CFL disposal:
Improper disposal of compact fluorescent light bulbs is dangerous to your family and to the environment. In some states, it is illegal to put these light bulbs in your trash. It's easy to dispose of compact fluorescent light bulbs properly. Just send them to your Senator or Congressman in Washington. Or send them to the EPA.