You’ve heard by now how much more efficient Compact Florescent Light Bulbs (CFL) are than the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. Replacing the light bulbs in your home or business is a single step that everybody can take (I think I read it’s now mandatory in Australia, and lawmakers in California and New Jersey are considering bans on incandescent bulbs) to save significant energy and reduce greenhouse gases.
Walmart is jumping on the GREEN bandwagon (image is everything) promoting the bulbs to their customers. Great! But the downside is the mercury these bulbs contain.
…in January 2007, Wal-Mart announced it had set a goal of selling 100 million compact fluorescent bulbs this year. But, even after two months, Wal-Mart has refused to adopt a national recycling program to deal with the serious environmental threat posed by the mercury content contained in the CFL’s.
Without a national recycling program, Wal-Mart’s efforts to sell 100 million CFL’s could result in the spreading of an estimated 227,273 pounds of mercury into American households.
Some large chains, like IKEA, are also making themselves responsible for recycling these bulbs from their customers who buy them. Apparently, some serious soil and water contamination is probable given enough broken bulbs in places where that dangerous element might enter the food chain.
So, the take home: get low-mercury CFL bulbs (we don’t do Walmart, period) and gradually phase out all the old style. (We’ll have to replace a couple of our old favorite lamps here at Chez Goose Creek that take the large-based 3-way bulbs, but that won’t kill us.) But be very careful what you do with the bulbs once they finally burn out (should you live so long!) They ARE a hazardous waste!
And come on! Wake up, Walmart!
Today on Nameless Creek: A New Kind of Calvin-ism