Lighten Up

     We’re making the transition to all CFL bulbs at Voyageur.  It’s taking us a while since we’re waiting for the other bulbs to burn out instead of just throwing them away.  But soon we will have made the switch and we’ll be saving electricity and spending less each time we switch on a light.

Heard the tittle-tattle about the mercury in compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)?

The Bite
Don’t get ’em in a twist. While CFLs do contain a little flicker of Hg, rumormongers tend to overblow the dangers. These days, CFLs fit more sockets and contain less mercury than ever (and yep, you can recycle them) – and that’s no hearsay.

The Benefits

  • Less misinformation. Traditional incandescent lights end up generating 2-10 times more mercury than CFLs when you figure in the mercury emissions from the coal plants that usually power them.
  • Lighting looks hot enough for Page Six. CFLs now come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, and fit a range of light fixtures. You can even get CFLs disguised as old-school bulbs if you’re not into the twisty shape.
  • Bill savings to gossip about. The average American home has about 45 bulbs; replacing them with CFLs could save $180 per household per year on electricity bills.
  • Recycling that’s easier than namedropping. More and more places (such as any Home Depot) will accept your used CFLs for recycling (unfortch, very few places take old incandescents, but check with your local facility).
  • Bow-chicka-bow-wow. New dimmable CFLs help you set the mood.
  • If 10,000 Biters replace four traditional bulbs with CFLs, we’ll eliminate the weight of 18,000 elephants in CO2 from entering the atmosphere. 

Personally Speaking
We actually haven’t had to recycle any yet, since the bulbs last so damn long.

Wanna Try?

  • Ace Hardware – CFLs for just about any socket, including new dimmable bulbs from GE (prices vary).
  • Sylvania RecyclePak – if you don’t have a local drop-spot, you can recycle 6-8 large CFLs by mail with shipping prepaid ($15).
  • Million Lights Project – this nonprof offers free CFLs.
  • Earth911 – type in CFLs and your zip to find a nearby drop-spot for dead bulbs.
  • EPA – directions for safely cleaning up mercury.