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Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by TEG, Oct 20, 2008.
European Union Bans Incandescent Light Bulbs : Red, Green, and Blue
Huh, maybe there will be some pressure on LED lighting, then, which I would not mind. But CFLs really, really suck, and LEDs are still really expensive, so I'm still thinking that this move was premature.
BBC NEWS | World | Europe | EU wants end to old-style bulbs
CFLs have mercury in them! Is the EU going to fund dozens of recycling centers to handle CFLs? How will the EU ensure that everyone recycles their CFLs and doesn't just throw them in the trash? They better have made some legislation dealing with this issue.
In 1999 US coal burning power plants polluted the air with 48.7 tonnes of Mercury. 1 CFL contains about 5 milligrams of Mercury, or 0.000000005 tonnes. So people would need to throw away 9.74 billion CFLs per year to match yearly Mercury output of all coal fired plants in USA in 1999. Any decent quality CFL will last at least 5 years, often longer that that. So that means that 48.7 billion CFL's can be in circulation in USA and not exceed yearly Mercury pollution of coal burning power plants in 1999. This comes out to 159 CFLs per person in USA thrown away every 5 years. I have 9 CFLs, had them for at least 4 years already and none are yet to fail. I plan on storing all of my burned out CFLs and when i collect enough, I will drop them off at a recycling center somewhere. Judging from their failure rate, i will only have to do that once in my life.
For a proper analysis you'd have to figure out how much mercury the power plants emit per KWh. Then compare that to how many kWh's you save using the CFLs over incandescent bulbs.
I am on it :smile:
For now, here is some one else's analysis: Environment - CFL Bulb Mercury Emissions
It has long been the custom of the people to take action, to take up arms as it were, when the corporations/governing bodies fail too, even though it may be an unfair burden to impose upon the individual, every major sociological/commercially viable change begins with baby steps, one at a time...unfortunately.
Don't you want to do what you can to save the World for yourself, your children/humanity as a whole irregardless of how insignificant that it may initially appear, every little bit helps just like every flood begins with but one drop of rain (apologies for waxing all philosophical there, truth is still the truth though, regardless of how it is presented.
The phase-out starts: Traditional 100 watt light bulbs to be phased out in favour of low-energy alternative - Telegraph
But there are always complainers and it is not true that they don't work on dimmer switches - I have one doing exactly that.
"In 1999 US coal burning power plants polluted the air with 48.7 tonnes of Mercury. 1 CFL contains about 5 milligrams of Mercury, or 0.000000005 tonnes..."
Well thank you for pointing that out. In perspective then, CFLs aren't so bad. (sorry I never responded to your post; I didn't see it till today)
CFLs don't pollute that much mercury then, but because they would be burried in land fills, maybe the do more harm since they go directly into the ground as opposed to the air. And what goes into the ground seeps into the ground water and you know the rest of the story. That's just my wild speculation.
A lot of places have CFL recycling programs and here, disposal of electronic goods that can go in landfill is regulated by the RoHS Directive from the EU.
In the US, Home Depot offers CFL recycling.
See also: http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partners/promotions/change_light/downloads/Fact_Sheet_Mercury.pdf
We might have our own version of the RoHS Directive. Any store selling any kind of electric good including light bulbs are required to have a system for recycling them, and accepting them from the public. This regardless of where the customer actually bought the product. There's a small enviromental fee added to these products which goes into a central fund that is used to pay the shops for the inconvenience of doing the recycling. So the system pays for itself and very little electrical goods end up in the landfill.
California has some slightly similar things for "electronic waste":
Special Taxes - Electronic Waste Recycling Fee (Ewaste) - Board of Equalization
On drink containers too.
Beverage Container Recycling - Home
Typical sensationalist Daily Wail reporting, you have to read down the article to find out what actually is happening.
Ten days left to buy frosted lightbulbs: EU ban means only low-energy ones will be on sale | Mail Online
The wasteful avalanche of 12 million light bulbs - Times Online