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View Diary: The great Lightbulb War goes on, funded by energy companies (224 comments)

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  •  We owe it to our children, (3+ / 0-)

    grandchildren, pets and the environment to be much, much smarter about solving problems than we are right now.  CFLs in every household are not the smart answer, imo.

    When you were a custodian, you had a ready and available system for disposal.  You are going to recycle and take your batteries, printer cartridges and whatever other hazardous waste you have somewhere where it will be handled properly and safely (we think), but you are a minority.  You are a rare bird.

    We cleaned up American roads because of a teary Native American, but the challenge of controlling the proper disposal of millions and millions CFL bulbs is not nearly as easy to enforce or manage as that was.  Hazmat disposal in my city requires that I go to the dump which due to cut backs is no longer open on Saturdays.  How many people are going to be able to take a day off of work to do that?

    FWIW, there are as you note places that will also take certain hazmats, but it is hit or miss in a sea of millions of potential pollutants.

    Based on the EPA guidelines, people who live in apartment buildings with garbage chutes are likely living in something of a dangerous environment.  The garbage in every building I ever lived in in NYC ended up next to the heating and air systems...  Think about it.

    •  Seconding this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I had a CFL bulb in a lamp at college, and came home from class one day to find that not only had my roommate dropped my lamp and broken the bulb, but she had left the shards right where it broke - where my feet went in the morning when I got out of bed - 'because I didn't know what to do about it' for an hour or more.

      I've seen multipack CFLs on clearance at some of the local 'dollar' stores, one of the bulbs visibly broken in the package.

      Hoping and praying that the empty chairs and empty tables in th4e Middle East and Northern Africa when all is said and done are as few as possible.

      by Cassandra Waites on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:26:12 PM PST

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    •  Convenience is the sticking point (1+ / 0-)
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      Quite frankly, the problem of improper disposal of standard batteries is already bigger than the coming tidal wave of used CFL bulbs. We need to a massive retooling of habit from disposal to reprocess/recycle.

      It's not going to be easy. Especially with the likes of the Kochs reminding us of how inconvenient proper handling of what is essentially toxic waste will be - since we will be using just a bit less of their coal and cut into their expected profit margins if we actually do the right thing.

      So, yeah, I've thought about it. We need to institutionalize the handling of our entire waste stream.

      That will necessitate inconvenience.

      Our children will accept it as the way you're suppose to operate, and it will be hardest on us. There's no way to sugar coat it, and I'm not going to try.

      The so-called "rising tide" is lifting only yachts.

      by Egalitare on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:44:14 PM PST

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      •  Look. What you don't understand (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is that more and more people falling into poverty are working their butts off longer and at more jobs trying to just get through life, make ends meet and feed children or other family members.  They don't all have cars to go driving out to Home Depot to properly dispose of a light bulb - not to mention gas money - and how about that gas consumption?  The nearest Home Depot to me is about 35 minutes with numerous traffic lights and at the wrong time of day 60 minutes idling most of that time.

        I don't know enough about what's in the LED technology with respect to toxicity, but I know enough about CFLs to have developed pretty unwavering opposition to using them.

        •  LEDs are a little better (0+ / 0-)

          LEDs contain plastic in the shell, copper or aluminum wire as the metal, and a semiconductor core made from various chemicals. While they do not contain mercury, they do contain lead and/or arsenic, though it is much harder to break a LED and release those chemicals. LEDs produce much less light and do not produce more light if you simply make them bigger, requiring multiple LEDs in a fixture to boost light output, so they are still unable to compete with CFLs.

          The mercury content of CFLs is hardly anything to worry about, given a relatively mercury-free diet and environment. The breakage of a single CFL will give you a personal exposure of 0.000007 mg of mercury, while the minimum acute and chronic levels required for toxicity are 1.1 mg/m^3 (acute exposure, single four to eight hour period) and 0.0007 mg/m^3 (chronic exposure, daily for several months). You'd get more mercury from a fish sandwich than breaking a CFL, and the fact that they last five years or more means the opportunities you will have for breaking one are few and far between.

    •  This is somewhat distressing, (3+ / 0-)

      but in Europe and Japan disposal of this kind of household waste isn't really a problem, as they mandate that manufacturers or consumers provision for recycling. Batteries are a far worse hazard and that problem is being resolved here through voluntary measures. Frankly though, all e-waste should be recycled by law.

      Unless you're directly benefiting from the fleecing somehow, all your blind investment in establishment politics has bought you, is a dog-and-pony show.

      by James Kresnik on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 03:44:19 PM PST

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      •  But we do not mandate. (1+ / 0-)
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        I am so glad for Europe and Japan, but we don't.

        And who is to say that the manufacturers under our free-for-all unregulated system of government are going to follow the rules?

        The back end of this equation has been completely mismanaged.  Frankly, the design of the bulbs is clearly completely flawed if we are going to have people putting 5, 10, 20 of these things in their houses.  What happens in an earthquake?  Does your house become some sort of Super Fund site?

        We should be smarter.

        •  Even if we don't mandate (1+ / 0-)
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          education can solve most, if not all of the problem. It's largely a matter of consumer education. Recycling isn't some insurmountable challenge and the potential risks appear to far outweigh by the benefits.

          Unless you're directly benefiting from the fleecing somehow, all your blind investment in establishment politics has bought you, is a dog-and-pony show.

          by James Kresnik on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 04:01:32 PM PST

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          •  I was at a funeral last week taking the (3+ / 0-)

            trash out for the widow with her brother.  In the dark, we put the recycling in the wrong can.  I realized and tried to move the recycling over.  He said, "Oh, it all goes to the same place anyway.  They don't really recycle."  Weirdly, that was the fourth time someone said that to me during the course of that one week.  You've got a lot of work ahead of you and I contend that you'd be better off not putting toxic consumables in the hands of consumers to the extent that you can avoid it instead of relying on their compliance and trust in the system.

          •  I live in a rural area (2+ / 0-)
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            lanius, in the Trees

            we don't have recycling.  We barely have garbage pickup through a private company.

            They won't even take cold ashes, let alone cfls.

            Perhaps I should make a sculpture on my front lawn?

            You seem to forget that a big part of this country don't live in cities.

    •  The many problems with CFLs - link (1+ / 0-)
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      As much as it pains me to agree with the Republicans (these Republicans, especially) - i think the progressive, and environmntal movements has dropped the ball on CFLs.  It SHOULD be us who champions of better technology and safer homes, champions of people that have physical problems because of CFLs.  
      As for the availabilty of incandescents - Canada (federal gov) plans to phase them out by 2012, and at least British Columbia has already outlawed incandescents in the most popular wattage (75-120 I think).

      The link is to the web site of Magda Havas, a researcher at Trent University in Ontario, and big in the field of dirty electricity and electrosmog:

      •  Well (0+ / 0-)

        I and many other people have no problem with CFLs.  I even prefer the light of CFLs.  For people who don't want them though, they are fine because the 2007 law doesn't outlaw incandescent bulbs, only inefficient incandescent bulbs.  There are halogen incandescents available today that are functionally identical to inefficient incandescents (e.g. color accuracy, dimmable, outdoor use, etc...) but are 30% more efficient (70W produces the same lumens as a 100W conventional).  

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