– One of our Earth Matters’ followers sent a note asking if we could supply information about light bulbs as he wasn’t convinced that switching from Incandescent Light Bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFL’s) was the best choice for his pocket book or the environment. In writing this article we at Earth Matters hope to provide information which will help you in formulating a clear course of action based on your needs and wants.Firstly, the life span of a CFL is on average ten times that of an incandescent bulb. Now the CFL’s average about four times the cost of an incandescent bulb however considering the proposed length of service the higher cost of the bulb is definitely offset assuming all other things such energy consumption are equal.
CFL’s consume considerable less power which produces huge savings for your wallet and translates into a lighter carbon footprint in producing the product.
According to www.ajdesigner.com using a compact fluorescent bulb can save about $42.00 in total costs over the lifetime of the bulb and reduce greenhouse gas produced by power plants by about 690 pounds of carbon dioxide. According to the U.S. Energy Star program the CFL will pay for itself in about six months time.
Each CFL contains a small amount of toxic mercury. Absorbing or inhaling mercury has been attributed to causing brain damage in adults and children. Breaking a CFL in your home or disposing of your used CFL’s in the garbage unleashes poison into your environment. The following link gives clean-up instructions should a CFL be broken in your home. http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup-detailed.html
All burnt out bulbs can be disposed of in your hazardous waste recycling days in your community or may be returned to your local Hardware store who will (if they offer the service, check before taking) look after disposing of this products safely. I phoned two of our local Hardware Stores, Canadian Tire and Rona; both offered safe, FREE disposal of CFL’s. Inquire in your community. Many vendors of CFL’s offer disposal of CFL’s for the benefit of their clients and community. Please do take advantage of this service for the benefit of our living planet.
Now one might think that an incandescent bulb offers a better alternative because it does not contain this toxic mercury however further investigation proves otherwise. While the incandescent bulb does not contain mercury it does have a higher overall mercury footprint when compared to the CFL. This is due to the additional energy required to use the bulb over the same time frame.
This energy is often supplied by coal-fired power plants which are our number one source of mercury pollution according to www.mnn.com
Consider that the exposure to mercury from a CFL will take place only if the glass that contains the mercury breaks. So your potential for risk is determined by the amount of times that you have every broken a light bulb.Some words for thought. According to www.earthfriends.com
only 5% of consumers use CFL bulbs. Surprising given the bulb is widely available. According to Energy Star, as noted on the Earth Friends site, “The United States could eliminate greenhouse gas emissions equal to 800,000 cars if each household in the country replace just one incandescent bulb with a CFL bulb.”
According to www.mnn.com using CFL’s are one of the easiest ways to shrink your electricity bill and help the environment.
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