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View Diary: Something to watch with LED lighting (233 comments)

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  •  My guess is that the power plant mercury emissions (19+ / 0-)

    saved by CFLs are greater than the mercury released when the bulbs are disposed of. Although where I live, none of the electricity comes from coal, so I can't personally rationalize it that way.

    Semiconductor manufacturing (LEDs are in that category) isn't necessarily planet friendly either, although as a matter of scale again, it's probably lots better at its worst than burning more coal.

    What I'd take away from the article is pretty much the same as your attitude - try it and see and watch for solutions to the problem (if it turns out to be one), as the tech is still relatively new.

    No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

    by badger on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 04:45:49 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  There are recycling programs available... (11+ / 0-)

      ...for CFL's. Here in Chicago, some of the hardware stores accept dead CFL's. Out in Stephenson County, IL, the County Health Department accepts them.

      I would hope that as LED lights of all sorts become more common, there would be a recycling program to recover the gallium and indium, as well. I already have three small LED flashlights that could use a program like that!

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 04:54:53 PM PST

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    •  Your guess is correct (10+ / 0-)

      For coal plants:

      http://www.popularmechanics.com/...

      Over the 7500-hour average range of one CFL, then, a plant will emit 13.16 mg of mercury to sustain a 75-watt incandescent bulb but only 3.51 mg of mercury to sustain a 20-watt CFL (the lightning equivalent of a 75-watt traditional bulb). Even if the mercury contained in a CFL was directly released into the atmosphere, an incandescent would still contribute 4.65 more milligrams of mercury into the environment over its lifetime.
    •  However keep in mind that depending on the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, badger

      state you are in you may be legally required to call in a hazmat team if one breaks.  While the EPA site says you can easily do it yourself please note the disclaimer which says.  In other words, you can't use it to argue preemption if your state has stricter requirements on disposing of mercury which can sometimes happen if they haven't made a regulation specifically targeting CFL bulbs (like there is for thermometers).

      This document contains information designed to be useful to the general public. This document:
      does not impose legally binding requirements, nor does it confer legal rights, impose legal obligations, or implement any statutory or regulatory provisions;
      does not change or substitute for any statutory or regulatory provisions;
      presents technical information based on EPA’s current understanding of the potential hazards posed by breakage of mercury-containing fluorescent lamps (light bulbs) in a typical household setting;
      is a living document and may be revised periodically without public notice.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 08:17:05 PM PST

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      •  In a previous life, I changed light bulbs (5+ / 0-)

        professionally, straight out of high school in 1967 and a summers for a couple of years after. Mostly I did gas station lighting from a truck with an aerial ladder mounted on it.

        The approved procedure was to take the old tubes to a waste barrel or dumpster (don't remember if those existed then) behind the station, place one end inside, look away (hard hat, no safety glasses) and whack the tube with a pair of pump pliers (ChannelLocks) to break it, and then feed the tube town and keep whacking.

        That was before the EPA existed, though.

        No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

        by badger on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 09:18:15 PM PST

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        •  Heh, we used to do that for free... (0+ / 0-)

          when we found fluorescent tubes in a dumpster. The real fun was throwing them like a spear and watching them explode on landing.  I too plead pre-EPA, and also too I was 10 years old.

          I don't know what's been trickling down, but it hasn't been pleasant---N. Pelosi

          by Russycle on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 05:41:21 PM PST

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    •  True, by quite a large margin. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA, badger, JeffW
      My guess is that the power plant mercury emissions saved by CFLs are greater than the mercury released when the bulbs are disposed of.

      "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." -- Sen Carl Schurz 1872

      by Calamity Jean on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 12:05:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mercury also from some hydro (0+ / 0-)

      Here in Vermont much of our power is from Hydro Quebec, which aside from flooding land claimed by the First Nations, also results in significant mercury releases from said land as it's flooded.

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