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This article originally appeared in the May/June 2008
issue of Home Energy Magazine.
May 01, 2008
Solving the CFL Quandary Thanks for bringing up the quandary over recycling CFLs (“The Afterlife of CFLs,” Jan/Feb ’08, p. 2). The CFL is a potentially beneficial product, so much so that some countries, provinces, and localities want to ban the sale of incandescent lamps and mandate their replacement with more efficient light sources like CFLs. Ireland and Australia begin an incandescent ban in 2009; the Nunavut Canadian province begins their ban in 2010; and the Ontario, Canada, ban on incandescents begins in 2012. But banning incandescents in the United States will only make sense if we put a convenient recycling path in place, and we take care of the mercury hazard by properly recycling these CFL bulbs at the end of their lives. EPA estimates that 200 million CFLs were sold in the United States in 2007, and with the new attention to CFLs in the media and the entry of mass marketers such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco, that number will no doubt increase in 2008. Those 200 million CFLs will have to be recycled at some point, 5, 6, or 12 years down the road. Two hundred million CFLs sounds like a large enough number to justify putting a nationwide collection and recycling system in ...
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