Compact Fluorescent Lights or CFLs last 10 times longer, and use 75% less electricity than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
Each CFL installed in place of an incandescent bulb will save around $6 in electricity costs every year!
Recycling CFLs allows the reuse of the glass, metals and other materials that make up fluorescent lights. There are no recycling programs for traditional incandescent light bulbs.
Drop-boxes for recycling CFLs can be found at most Ace Hardware, Home Depot, and other hardware stores. Deliver used CFLs in a resealable plastic bag. Call your local hardware store, ask at the service desks, or visit www.Earth911.com to find stores in your area.
Recycling Fluorescent Tubes
Fluorescent tubes (four foot lamps) are not generally accepted at hardware stores can be taken to the Naperville Hazardous Waste Facility, or you may use the following mail-back programs for a fee.
- The EPA recommends Lamp Recycle http://www.lamprecycle.org/Recyclers.php who works with Everlights, a national service provider for lamp, ballast, battery, electronics, mercury device, and fixture recycling. Pickup service and mail-in programs available. Chicago, IL, 773-734-9873 Ext. 115, www.everlights.com
- The lamp recycling box holds 60 T8 or 30 T12 straight fluorescent tubes. This box can also be used to recycle U-bend and large HID lamps. $60
- WM Programs
LampTracker: CFL bulb box holds 13 of the 13W CFL $20, tubes box holds 16 T8 or 7 T12 4foot lamps $70, picked up by UPS. See www.ThinkGreenFromHome.com
- Lamp Master http://www.lampmaster.com/OrderNOW/tabid/59/Default.aspx
4 foot Lampmaster Recycling Kit holds 100 T8 or 49 T12 for $75
- The efficient use of electricity, through installing CFLs, directly reduces emissions of mercury into our atmosphere from coal-fired power to about a quarter of what is produced for an incandescent light.
- The EPA estimates that 103 metric tons of mercury emissions are released in the U.S. each year. More than half of these emissions come from coal-fired electrical power. (U.S. EPA 2005 National Emissions Inventory)
- Each CFL contains only 4 milligrams (mg) of mercury; the long fluorescent tubes have 4-12mg.
- To put that in perspective, home thermometers contain up to 500 mg, manual thermostats contain up to 3,000 mg, and one dental amalgam tooth filling can contain up to 1,000 mg of mercury.
- No mercury is released when CFLs are intact or in use!
Handle carefully to avoid breakage, and if you break one - don’t panic. Vacate and ventilate the area for 10 minutes, then gently sweep it up with a damp cloth into a sealable container for disposal. See www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup.html
for detailed cleanup instructions.