Skip to comments.Mercury in new light bulbs not being recycled, escaping to environment
Posted on 04/04/2011 7:53:00 AM PDT by SmithL
The nation's accelerating shift from incandescent bulbs to a new generation of energy-efficient lighting is raising an environmental concern -- the release of tons of mercury every year.
The most popular new light -- the curly cue, compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs -- account for a quarter of new bulb sales and each contains up to 5 milligrams of mercury, a potent neurotoxin that's on the worst-offending list of environmental contaminants.
Demand for the bulbs is growing as federal and state mandates for energy-efficient lighting take effect, yet only about 2 percent of residential consumers and one-third of businesses recycle them, according to the Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers.
"If the recycling rate remains as abysmally low as it is, then there will certainly be more mercury released into the environment," said Paul Abernathy, executive director of the Napa-based recycling association. "Until the public really has some kind of convenient way to take them back, it's going to be an issue."
As a result of discarded fluorescent lights, including CFLs, U.S. landfills release into the atmosphere and in stormwater runoff upward of 4 tons of mercury annually, according to a study in the Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association.
A San Francisco hardware store owner sees the recycling dilemma firsthand.
"They're promoting them and giving them away, but there's nowhere to drop them off," said Tom Tognetti, co-owner of Fredricksen's Hardware.
(Excerpt) Read more at contracostatimes.com ...
Memo this to Jeffrey Immelt and the AnnointedIdiot, along with all those green libtard idiots smoking the idiocy crack pipe of unicorns and rainbow dreams.... =.=
Well obviously we’re going to need a Mercury Reclamation Agency. Think $50 billion would be a fair starting budget?
Is this light bulb thing a United States initiative or a global effort? Will the old light bulb be made for other countries?
The time is fast approaching when the gummit will order all incandescent bulbs taken off the market.
If you haven’t already done so, I would suggest that you invest in several cases of the incandescent bulbs in the wattage sizes you use.
If CFLs had been in use for the past century and incandescent bulbs newly invented, the incandescent bulb would be celebrated as an environmental savior.
You can purchase Mercury Offset Credits from Al Gore.
“They’re promoting them and giving them away, but there’s nowhere to drop them off,” said Tom Tognetti, co-owner of Fredricksen’s Hardware.”
This is why we need more Lefty “intellectuals” running the country. (/sarc)
You can’t buy a “real” thermometer anymore because of mercury concerns, but the oppressive federal government mandates we use billions of mercury filled lightbulbs.
Everything liberalism: Generates the exact opposite of its stated intent
I have my stash to last me the rest of my life. I plan to put the remaining into my will.
I haven't heard a peep from them on this subject.
(....see my tag line......)
I was changing a burned out compact fluorescent bulb in an outside porch light the other day, and it slipped from my hand and shattered on the ground... right across the street from an elementary school.
It’s more fun to actually break them and then take the pieces over to the school and bury them under the Monkey Bars.
SmithL, not surprising is it? BTW, Qbert, Lowes has drop-off recycling. However, I wonder how many people actually read the warning that’s printed on the CFL box about disposal requirements...and how many people will save the bulb and make an extra trip to a drop-off (retail stores, recyling centers, etc.)?
Compact Florescent Light bulbs are going to bring big, expensive, trouble to everyone who installs them. A look at the very recent history of the radon gas fiasco shows just how that will happen.
If you want to sell your house in Colorado, you are going to have to get it tested for the colorless, odorless gas called radon. That test will cost several hundred dollars, and needs to be read by a certified reader. If gas is found, and out here it almost always is, radon mitigation systems will need to be installed, starting at about a thousand, going up to many thousands. Then the test needs to be repeated, to make sure that the radon is brought under control.
CFLs will be the same. Do you rent? You will have to increase your deposit to rent. When you leave, you will be forced to prove that you didnt break a bulb during the course of the lease. That will cost you a couple hundred dollars. Did a bulb break while you lived there? Add another $500 or more for the professional to clean it up.
Do you own your own home? To sell your entire house will have to be declared mercury free That will cost you several hundred dollars to get that piece of paper. If they find mercury, a profession is going to have to come in and clean it up. For a house, that could very well cost another thousand or more.
Radon gas mitigation is a scam, a racket designed to line the pockets of a few, at the expense of the foolish, and those of us who are caught in the traps mandated by folks who are foolish.
The same is on its way for those who are foolish enough, or rich enough, to use CFLs.
If you cant afford the processes and costs Ive outlined above, DONT USE COMPACT FLORESCENT BULBS!
I’ve seen some dodges such as light bulbs in slightly nontraditional wattages e.g. 95 watts. Since they did not previously exist, there is nothing from the past to compare their efficiency to.
The Law of Unintended Consequences....ain’t it a bitch!
If 300,000,000 Americans discard 300,000,000 bulbs containing 0.005 grams of mercury every year that would result in 1,500 long tons (called "tonnes") of mercury being released into the environment every year.
Our rulers are buffoons.
Normal fluorescent lamps are even worse mercury polluters when broken than the typical modern CFL. As long as the CFL is the darling du jour, you can bet that most people will turn a blind eye to its mercury content.
I was in Costco with my acupuncturist yesterday and she pointed to the CFLs and said STAY AWAY and go back to the old ones.
GE lobbied to screw us out of perfectly good lightbulbs to enhance their sharholder value and I can’t believe they didn’t think of the secondary market for recycling and reclaiming.
Immelt should go tomorrow for missing the big picture!
It is my understanding that 100 Watt incandescents will be outlawed as of 12/31/2011. I’ve already stocked up.
I’m wondering if that will actually happen...
The whole point of this was to pay off the dems’ cronies at GE, and that might have already been accomplished.
I do, however, have a huge stockpile.
If incandescents are made illegal, I’m in for multiple simultaneous death penalties.
Once we get rid of this monstrousity, next is the low flush toilet and low flow shower head.
Radon, a gas that normal healthy people breathe back out as readily as they breathe it in, is virtually harmless except to smokers. In their case, the radon and the smoke pack a one-two punch by adsorbing the radon and making it linger for days in the lungs until expelled by smoker’s cough.
I wonder if the situation will get so bad that we will have to throw all our stockpiled lightbulbs in the ocean like we did with those guns we used to own....
Barry and Harry would want to add an additional... Ahem.... - Zero - to that number. We have to organize the communities to get them to recycle those things dontchaknow.
I just bought a case of those 95 watters made by Sylvania.
4 bulbs for $1.
I now have at least a couple hundred 100 and 95 watters to last probably my lifetime and I’ll buy more before the years is over.
A free people ought to be able to choose any or all of these items for their personal use if they wish. They purport to save on bills, and if they work as advertised they do. However they probably will never work quite as well as they would had market competition been the only reason for their existence.
I DO have a few of the cfl bulbs—one in my hallway, one in the bathroom and two outside,—one over the garage and one for the porch. (ALL of my outside lights are “green”-being cfl and sodium vapor—because it costs LESS to run them, and they last a LOT longer—NOT because of any “green” concerns..). These are all “heavy use and hard to get at” lamps—that I do not want to have to change too often.
The rest are—and will continue to be—old fashioned “100 watt and such “normal” bulbs.
“would result in 1,500 long tons (called “tonnes”) of mercury being released into the environment every year.”
Pretty soon, we’ll have mercury in our food supply just like China. Oh goodie!
From the earth, back to earth.
While there are neighborhood effects from energy and water consumption, the case is not made. I have private water and sewer in a relatively rural area. My water usage has no neighborhood effect, I and all my neighbors could use all the water we wanted without affecting the environment. The amount of effluent we produce is negibly affected by the amount of ground water we mix it with before returning the water back to the ground. In a septic system, rainwater mixes with the wastewater in the leaching feild regardless. We are just pre-mixing a little more or less rainwater.
Ingesting elemental or metallic mercury is pretty harmless, it’s very poorly absorbed by the digestive system. The real danger is mercury compounds, especially halogens. Who’s to say what mercury sitting in dumps, reacting with other discarded chemicals and leaching into ground water will get up to.
Our rulers are buffoons.
Don’t worry. as soon as the incandescent bulb has stopped being manufactured, the Greene’s will call for legislation criminalizing the âImproper Disposalâ of CFLs.
Prior to mining and extraction, mercury is pretty well isolated from drinking water and food supply. Most landfills are shallow and leach into water supplies for drinking and irrigation. I’m not overly alarmed, but I’m not sanguine either.
Even here in the great recycling state of Vermont, there doesn’t seem to be any way to dispose of them.
We put out our recyle stuff—paper, plastic, glass, returnables—and it’s picked up separately. But it’s all mashed up together in one truck. And no provision to separate out stuff like TVs or light bulbs.
You can make a special trip and take them to the dump, but I’m not too sure that they have the means to dispose of them properly, either.
Of course, mercury is not produced by elves in a magic tree - its part of the environment to begin with, and the amount of mercury used by man is pretty analogous to the amount of CO2 used by man.
But why get in the way of a manufactured crisis.
There is mercury in our food suply and always has been.
It is a part of the environment with or without mankind.
One single vent on any of the worlds active volcanos typically vents 2 tons per year into the atmosphere.
A crisis can be created, however, by informing the public of something they didn’t know about and prevaricating about the cause.
Gotta lay some blame on the charismatic nature of the enviro nazi hallway monitors. Nobody gets a pass!!/sarc
Another hyped up HOAX, SCAM. The amount of Mercury is minuscule. All of a sudden people are concerned about mercury in light bulbs. Where have you been concerning all the millions of fluorescent tubes discarded into the environment for the past 60 years? Why aren't we all dead already?
“An average fluorescent tube contains as much as 40mg of mercury.”
“How much mercury is contained in a CFL?
Each bulb contains an average of 5 milligrams of mercury,....”
“Sales of “fluorescent lumiline lamps” commenced in 1938 when four different sizes of tubes were put on the market....”
“...... By 1951 more light was produced in the United States by fluorescent lamps than by incandescent lamps.....”
“By using less electricity, CFLs help reduce mercury emissions from coal-burning power plants, which are the largest source of human-caused mercury emissions in the United States,” said agency press officer Ernest Jones. (Related: “Clean Coal? New Technology Buries Greenhouse Emissions” [May 2, 2006].)
The devil is in the details. Jump off the anti CFL bandwagon and save money & energy while putting less mercury into the environment.
P.S. You should still be able to purchase incandescent bulbs if you want to waste money & energy and put MORE mercury into the environment.
I’m not concerned about the mercury, I’m concerned about the 2 that have smoked out in the last year at my house. I no longer leave one on in the basement, etc.
...........................were going to need a Mercury Reclamation Agency..............................
And another czar!
I think most Post Offices have a curbside mailbox for your convenience. Just return your CFL directly to the government responsible for this mess.