As I’m sitting down to write this entry, I have a little ditty playing in my head: “Always look on the bright side of life / Always look on the light side of life.” I guess it’s only fitting that my topic this week is compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs.
You’ve probably heard that on average, CFLs use between 66 percent and 75 percent less energy than the old standby incandescent bulbs and can last up to 10 times longer. Sure, they cost more, but if you use them in the five lamps/lights you use the most, you can save more than $50 on your energy bill each year. And who doesn’t want to save money?
What you might not know is that each CFL contains a small amount of mercury, which means you can’t just throw the spent bulb away. Mercury is a toxin that’s tough to clean up, so the last thing you should do is send it to the landfill. It needs to be disposed of properly.
Contact your local recycling center to see if they’ll take your spent CFLs (you can’t just put them in with your recyclables). I went to www.earth911.org to find out what my options are, and discovered that my local Home Depot store will take them, no questions asked, even if I didn’t buy them there. In fact, there’s an in-store consumer CFL recycling/disposal box at every Home Depot location in the United States and Canada. It’s free and convenient, which totally works for me.
CFLs are one way to save money and help the environment. Do you have any other Green money-saving ideas you’d like to share?