This is an Osram CFL from a few years ago that has stopped working. I cut the base in half with an angle grinder as a hacksaw would not cut the black insulating material in the bayonet connector. This rather brutal approach destroyed quite a few components on the board. This is basically a pretty crude electronic fluorescent gear that is not nearly as efficient as it could be as evidenced by the rather large choke, the thing that looks like a transformer with an iron core and copper windings at the back. This lamp (when it was working!) started with a brief flicker. One of the broken bits was a neon lamp as are found in old fashioned starters so I suspect this was part of a crude and inefficient capacitor start, these are also likely to fail before other parts of the lamp. The weight of this lamp was 82 grammes, 20 grammes was the circuit board that may well have been working and certainly is in many lamps that are thrown away. The glass tube is 40 grammes, the metal lamp cap 6 grammes therefore 16 grammes of plastics derived from fossil fuels makes the remainder. The mercury content will be anything between 2mg and 5mg depending on the age and manufacturer of the lamp. The construction of this lamp allows the electronics module to be easily separated from the tube however the plastic base is fixed to the tube with expanded foam so it would be difficult to separate the plastic and glass for recycling. A typical equivalent Incandescent lamp weighs 34 grammes approximately 27 grammes of this being the glass envelope, cap approximately 6 grammes and approximately 1 gramme of metals including the filament. Since writing this page some further information has come to my attention. As part of the EuP work done by VITO, spreadsheets were used to analyse the environmental impact of different lamp types. The spreadsheets were originally written for the assessment of the impact of general domestic electrical equipment so there may be errors due to the relative size of lamps. The outputs of the spreadsheet included the following numbers: • Energy used in manufacture: GLS 1 MJ = 0.28KwH CFLi 12MJ = 3.33 KwH [ed- as from similar Osram and Philips CFL manufacture data, such energy usage quoted is from the assembly of already made components. Including the energy needed to make the components themselves, raises CFL energy use to 40 times or more that of incandescents, as from Dr Stanjek's study (commissioned by Greenpeace, so hardly research biased): Referenced, with more on the issue: ceolas.net/#li16x] • Pollutants created in manufacture and winning the materials required: GLS 5 grammes, non hazardous CFLi 128 grammes, 78 grammes being hazardous waste So basically each CFLi manufactured causes one and a half times its weight in waste and a weight equal to itself in hazardous waste. As I said above these figures are subject to question but are alarming as they stand.On a lighter, nay, dimmer note... a reminder from a previous post Imagine calling a fluorescent bulb Tru Dim 😉 (it's dimmable, apparently, and full of fun components)
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.