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Global Impact: disposal of Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (mercury)

March 10, 2007

A post on my new energy conservation by using more Compact Fluorescent (CF) bulbs drew a comment by "nerddawg" questioning the impact of the additional mercury.  Thanks Ashish for raising my awareness to this!

A quick search on "mercury recycling cf" in my search box in IE7 found the following:

  • Proper disposal of CF bulbs is important. Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury.
    • It is unlawful for anyone to dispose of fluorescent bulbs as universal waste in the states of California, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin []
  • CFLs Responsible for Less Mercury than Incandescent Light Bulbs Ironically, CFLs present an opportunity to prevent mercury from entering our air, where it most affects our health.  The highest source of mercury in our air comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal, the most common fuel used in the U.S. to produce electricity.  A CFL uses 75% less energy than an incandescent light bulb and lasts at least 6 times longer.  A power plant will emit 10mg of mercury to produce the electricity to run an incandescent bulb compared to only 2.4mg of mercury to run a CFL for the same time. [GE Lighting fact sheet (pdf) (html)] 
    • Note: this is the fact sheet from a producer of light bulbs…haven’t verified this data elsewhere…
    • My impression is that power creation in the state of Washington is cleaner than this (due to major river generated power??)…but I’m not sure…

Proper Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste

  • helps US or Canada residents find your nearest household hazardous waste disposal facility.  There are 3 permanent facilities in Seattle/Bellevue and a WasteMobile which rotates around different community locations.


I save household batteries for periodic disposal at the Bellevue waste facility…now I know that CF bulbs need the same treatment.

I wonder how my neighbors do at this?  Perhaps I should tell them I’m planning on going to the facility and help take things there for them.


From → GreenRob

One Comment
  1. Unknown permalink

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