A recent study in the Journal of the Air and Management Waste Association outlined a growing concern about the impact of fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) when sent to landfills, due to increased use sparked by the US government’s new lighting requirements. The study’s final analysis? The combination of each bulb’s 5 milligrams of mercury and a US recycling rate of CFLs at 2% led to 4 tons of mercury being released into the atmosphere every year.
This study does not suggest we go back to using incandescent bulbs, as CFLs use approximately 75% less energy. A Los Angeles Times article writes on the subject:
"If every California household replaced five incandescent bulbs with CFLs, the move would save 6.18 billion kilowatt-hours and prevent the annual release of 2.26 million tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, according to the California Energy Commission. That's equivalent to taking 414,000 cars off the road."
However, the study does highlight the need to properly dispose of these energy efficient bulbs which contain one of the worst environmental contaminants. CAW has continuously fought to promote energy efficiency, while at the same time ensure convenient recycling opportunities exist as well. Check out our webpage to see what were up to currently and keep updated on Californian law.
The bottom line? CFLs are a good alternative to incandescent bulbs, and many other energy efficient options exist as well. However, proper disposal of these bulbs is absolutely necessary to ensure that we are truly adopting sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. To find out where you can recycle your CFLs at a convenient location, click here.