compact florescent lightbulbs and mercury

I just learned today that CFLs have mercury. Just a wee bit, but the official instructions are to try to ventilate your house if one breaks. Zow. It’s less than a household thermometer, anyway. The big problem is getting them recycled. Most places don’t make it easy at all- IKEA has a take back program, apparently, but we have no IKEA.

We haven’t switched yet, because we keep seeing the cheap old fashioned kind right there and the price tags override our green intentions- which are lame as hell if you average them together. I care this much: “OMG Save my Goddess-Mother!!!!!!!!!!!!! Buy cloth everything* and clean the house with baking soda! Eat vegan and read by soy candle light!” and Bu cares this much: “meh.”

When we get some, I’ll have to figure out what to do with them after use.

Some links:

NPR article
GE’s FAQ about the bulbs and their mercury content
EPA Statement about CFLs (pdf)

*I said I care that much, not that I’ve done all this yet. (Thinking guiltily of my Pampers…)

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7 responses to “compact florescent lightbulbs and mercury

  1. that’s one thing that makes me really mad about everybody saying how environmental-friendly cfl bulbs are and that we should all replace our bulbs with cfl. first – they are only environmental-friendly if you recycle them properly, and many people don’t know that you even have to do that. second – they are supposed to save you energy, but they use a lot of energy during recycling. sometimes it seems like a big hoax to make people feel more responsible, but in the end we all know much too little about what really is involved.

  2. I hadn’t thought of the energy needed to recycle- that should certainly figure into the equation as well. Argh… it is mentallly exhausting to live in this time. Having to question everything, not being able to trust that we’re all aware of the planet’s crisis and waiting for a time when we act as one to save our home and our children.

    I feel like I’m swimming uphill constantly. Everyone around me blissfully ignorant of their impact on the planet, coccooned in this happy little me, me, me bubble.

    Damn. Can you tell the baby had me up all night long?

  3. We recycle as much stuffs as we can…but although we did cloth diapering for about six months, when Ciaran started getting persistent yeast infections, we stopped.

    Have been using Huggies ever since, which is annoying, because I spent so much on those cloth nappies and now we’re spending MORE on sposies! But you know, saving the earth is not worth having him with a sore bum.

  4. Yeah, there are certainly trade-offs we make. I never mean to hate on anyone, or myself for using disposables. I just get pissy when we don’t consider alternatives or just blindly accept over packaged over disposable stuff.

  5. awww, sorry the babe had you up all night. how is it going anyway, the night weaning seemed to work great? do you get more sleep usually?

  6. Yeah, usually nights are good:)

  7. We’re slowly switching over to CFLs and so far they are pretty great. They need changing a LOT less often, so that’s the biggest benefit I see.

    LEDs are even better, but more expensive and harder to find…

    I actually think the biggest thing we do is keep cloth bags in the car, so that we don’t need plastic bags everytime we buy something. (We switched to buying biodegradable bags for dog poop so as to not have the “but I use the plastic bags” excuse anymore). Cloth diapers are teh awesome, but eventually kids are gonna potty learn. I will be shopping for groceries for the Rest of my Life. BIG improvement, not to have to get plastic bags!

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