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CFLs and the Environment

The increased use of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) has recently raised many questions about the products benefits and concerns.  CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury, about four milligrams, but a typical mercury-based thermometer actually contains 100-600 times the amount of mercury of one CFL bulb.  CFLs are good for the environment, economical, efficient and easy.

Mercury in CFLs
Everyone can save money and the environment by simply switching to CFLs.

Lighting accounts for approximately 20 percent of the average home’s energy bill. Switching to CFLs will save you money and energy because they use 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer. These bulbs produce a quick return on investment.

Changing to just one Energy Star-rated CFL in every American home over the course of a year, would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes and prevent the release of greenhouse gases equal to about 800,000 cars.

It’s now easier than ever to recycle CFLs.

Many of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives accept used CFLs at their offices for recycling. Contact your cooperative for more information.

If your co-op does not offer this service, check with you local home improvement and hardware stores.  Many of these stores accept CFLs at the returns counter.

Many recycling centers also accept CFLs, and recycling kits can be ordered online.

Contact your local municipal solid waste agency or go to www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling to help identify other local recycling options.

CLEAN-UP: Cleaning up CFLs is easy and safe.

Sweep up, do not vacuum, the glass fragments and particles.

Place the broken pieces in a plastic bag and wipe the area with a damp paper towel to pick up any remaining stray shards or particles.

Put the paper towel in the bag and seal it before it you place it in the trash.

For more detailed clean-up instructions, click here.


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