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article image5 Ways to Recycle a Compact Flourescent Lamp CFL

By Chris V. Thangham     Sep 25, 2007 in Environment
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) despite its lower energy consumption and lower prices in the US, only 6 % of the US households have CFL in their home. One of the major stumbling blocks for the user to accept CFL is its mercury content.
CFL contains as much as 5 milligrams of Mercury per bulb, but many don’t realize the regular fluorescent lamps have higher mercury content than CFL and we have been dumping these lamps into dumpsters and waste places mercilessly. We shouldn’t do the same for CFL.
It becomes imperative for the user to dispose the CFL properly; otherwise the mercury content will pollute the water sources and the environment in large numbers. It is estimated by 2010, the US alone will have 80 to 100 million CFL bulbs that will be disposed improperly. Hence, recycling becomes essential for CFL. So, if you use CFL at homes and are trying to find suitable places to recycle, this article gives the list of places to recycle your CFL
1. Your local garbage service.
Most of the local recycling companies may offer CFL recycling also, so you can contact them and place the bulbs along with the newspaper waste. If not they may have special collection centers for CFL disposal.
2. Municipal government.
Besides the local garbage service, the local government (city, county) will have special collection centers, so contact them in the special blue pages in the phone directory and find out where the centers are located.
3. Retailers.
Usually the large CFL sellers such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot should have a special recycling place, but they don’t, hopefully they will have it soon. If not try your local IKEA shop, which has free take-back program. Here is a link for petitioning the Wal-Mart to have a CFL recycling program at their stores.
4. Earth 911
Earth 911 is probably the United States and Canada's largest online clearinghouse of recycling information. You can check their site and find a local recycling center for CFL. Earth 911 is trying to expand their program to Europe as well.
5. Commercial Services
There are a variety of for-profit companies which provide CFL and fluorescent bulb disposal by mail. One of them is They sell a special recycling kit, where you can store your used CFL bulbs, once it fills the special drum; it has a free postage paid option with FEDEX. It costs $120 for the recycling kit. This option is good if you have no other recycling centers available, it is better to be stored safely until it is disposed properly.
If you have no other options, then store in a sealed PVC container until you find proper disposable place. Keep them at a safe place in a good storage bag, so it doesn’t get broken, dropped or crushed. Also, contact your neighbors and collect the used CFL as a group and dispose them properly, you could add this activity in your social and religious meetings.
If you haven’t purchased CFL and still thinking about it, you should start using CFL, it has more potential benefits than regular lamps. It saves a lot of power in your home, when you have more rooms, the savings will be immediate. For more information on how to choose the CFL, see this article here.
Do you use CFL? How do you dispose your CFL?
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