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State proposes CFL disposal legislation April 8, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in cfl, compact fluorescent, Controversial information, light bulb, List Article.
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What should we do with this guy when he burns out?

What should we do with this guy when he burns out?

Gadzooks! Its me Dr. Z! Seems Compact Fluorescent are in the media yet again! Turns out some states are looking to put forth some legislation to make sure these little spiral buggers are disposed of properly.  Check out the article below for the info!


Dr. Z



Energy-saving lights now poised to pollute Bill would require makers to accept, dispose of dead ones

Portland Press Herald

Mainers have installed millions of energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs in recent years, thanks in part to state incentives aimed at saving energy and slowing global warming.

Now the state is trying to make sure all those bulbs don’t get thrown into the trash when they eventually burn out. Each one contains a small amount of mercury which, when added up, can poison waterways, fish and people.

Legislation to be presented at the State House today would require makers of the bulbs to set up and promote a statewide collection and recycling program.

Conservationists say the idea will keep an environmental success story from turning into an environmental problem. A group of manufacturers, however, warns that the proposed solution will make the bulbs so expensive that many Mainers may stop buying and installing them.

The proposal is expected to be the most controversial of several mercury-related bills to be presented at a public hearing before the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee starting at 9:30 a.m. today.

If it passes, Maine would be among the first states to create such a manufacturer-financed recycling system for the squiggly lamps. Several other state Legislatures are considering similar proposals.

“Compact fluorescent bulbs are great products,” said Matt Prindiville, a lobbyist for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the bill’s primary supporter. “They save energy, they save money, they reduce pollution, they reduce global warming (emissions). But, unfortunately, they contain small amounts of mercury and they need to be disposed of properly.”

Last year alone, Mainers used state rebates to buy 1.2 million of the bulbs, he said. “In five years, those 1.2 million bulbs are going to be coming out of people’s light sockets, and unless we get a successful program in place most of them are going to go into the trash.”

Maine has banned a long list of products that contain mercury in an effort to keep the toxin out of landfills and incinerators. Mercury pollution is the reason the state says pregnant women and children should not eat too much locally caught fish. Other bills to be presented today would phase out or ban the sale of mercury-containing button cell batteries, automobile wheel weights and rifle recoil suppressors.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs have been promoted by the state despite the mercury content because of their other environmental benefits. By reducing the need to make so much electricity, they can even reduce mercury pollution overall, especially if they are recycled.

Efficiency Maine, a state program that promotes use of the bulbs, has set up free spent-bulb collection bins at about 200 retail stores statewide. The program costs about $40,000 a year and recycled a total of 4,723 bulbs in 2008, according to the Public Utilities Commission, which operates Efficiency Maine. That effort is financed by electricity ratepayers.

Towns and cities in Maine also collect the bulbs for recycling, although some charge a fee or only accept them at special collection days.

Most of the bulbs, as well as fluorescent tubes that contain even more mercury, are still going into the trash, according to John James, an environmental specialist with the state Department of Environmental Protection. “We’re one of the better states in the nation, but we only account for 5 percent of the lamps” being recycled, he said.

The DEP is supporting the recycling bill, which also would set limits on the amount of mercury in bulbs sold in Maine.

A statewide recycling program that’s convenient, aggressively promoted and supported by manufacturers would likely capture more bulbs, and would shift the cost away from taxpayers and ratepayers back to the manufacturers, according to Prindiville. Manufacturers will pass the cost onto consumers, he said, but the added cost won’t be enough to discourage Mainers from buying the bulbs and saving energy and money over the long term.

The cost of recycling the bulbs under Maine’s program is now about 75 cents per bulb, according to Prindiville. But, he said, an analysis done by officials in the state of Washington found that manufacturers could do it by spreading the cost and adding only 15 cents to the cost of bulbs that typically cost $1.60 to $3.

A group representing light bulb manufacturers, however, said the impact on prices is sure to be much larger, as much as $1 or more per bulb.

Representatives of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association could not be reached Thursday, but the group has outlined its opposition to the proposals in Maine and other states in letters and policy papers posted on its Web site.

The association has been supportive of recycling programs. But last month it dropped out of talks to develop a national solution after leaders of the effort supported Maine-style legislative proposals emerging around the country.

The group says the cost of recycling bulbs is high compared to the amount of mercury that is kept out of the environment. A bulb typically contains 3 to 5 milligrams of mercury, at least 100 times less than old-fashioned mercury thermometer.

And, it says, the recycling cost will be even higher if manufacturers are forced to create a whole new collection and recycling system, rather than relying on existing programs.

“Efforts to adjust retail prices of (compact fluorescent bulbs) to incorporate recycling costs could increase the price of CFLs by 50 percent or more,” according to a recent policy statement posted by the association. “Higher prices could depress sales and hinder efforts to meet state and regional energy conservation goals.”


So How Much Mercury is in Those Compact Fluorescents? February 11, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product..
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Don't try this at home kids.

Don't try this at home kids.

Zoomz-n-ZOinks! Its me Dr. Z! The loopy lightbringer of the new millenium. One of the most controversial and misinformed subjects about CFL is that the contain life threatening amounts of mercury that could kill you in all sort of bizzarre ways. Nothing could be further from the truth. The amount of mercury CFL’s contain is very small and is sealed within the glass tubing. It contains most often no more than 5 milligrams, which is equivalent to the tip of a balllpoint pen. Mercury is an essential component to all fluorescents and  is essential to making it a energy efficient light source. There is nothing that can replace mercury that will allow fluorescents to work thought many manufacturers have greatly reduced the amount needed.  Zoinks! Its also good to remember that your everyday household thermometers contains up to 500 milligrams of mercury and many manual thermostats contain up to 3000 milligrams. It gonna take  100 and 600 CFLs to equal those amounts! GadzookZ!

Dr Z




So CFLS are certainly safe to use in your home and no mercury is given off if used properly. No juggling, throwing,eating , or licking! CFLs are made of glass tubing and can break if dropped or roughly handled.  Be careful when removing the lamp from its packaging, installing it, or replacing it. Always screw and unscrew the lamp by its base, and never forcefully twist the CFL into a light socket by its tubes.  Just like when handling an Incandescent bulb or any bulb for that matter! As far as disposal you want to make sure an recycle!

See the EPA’s site on recycling




Common Myths about Compact Fluorescents February 10, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product..
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Dr Z, in search of the perfect light.

Dr Z, in search of the perfect light.

Gadzooks! Its hard work being a light bulb guy! Dr. Z here ready to save the world one bulb at a time. I’m finding many people out there still have a alot of misconceptions about compact fluorescents, so I have posted this fantastic article taken from ConsumerReports that gives a unbiased take on compact fluorescents. They did a great job on this one. See below! Zoinks!

Dr Z



Compact fluorescent lightbulbs
Don’t fall for the common myths about these long-lasting, energy-saving lights

STILL SHINING Several CFLs from GE, Home Depot, and others are lighting our labs after 10,000 hours.
Photo by Michael SmithSwapping regular bulbs for compact fluorescents can save you at least $30 per bulb over a CFL’s life. The latest bulbs are better than earlier ones. Yet the myths burn on. Here are some of the most common misconceptions:

Myth: Finding a recycler is hard.

Reality: You shouldn’t throw used CFLs out with the trash. But Home Depot, Ikea, and some Ace and True Value stores accept unbroken CFLs no matter where you bought them. Wal-Mart sells the most CFLs. A spokeswoman told us the chain was looking into a recycling program, but it didn’t have one as we went to press. You can also contact your public works department or go to http://www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling.

Myth: Compact fluorescents are pricey.

Reality: Some CFLs now cost less than $2 compared with $9 to $25 in 1999. Several lasted five to 10 times as long as regular bulbs in our tests, and Energy Star versions use up to 75 percent less power. They’re also warranted for as long as nine years. Write the purchase date on the bulb in indelible ink. And save your receipt.

Myth: CFLs produce a harsh blue light.

Reality: Many now light like ordinary bulbs. Those with a 2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin (K) number have a warmer, yellower color; 3,500 K to 6,500 K bulbs emit a bluer or whiter light. Energy Star CFLs must include the Kelvin number on the package as of December. Look for CFLs labeled “soft” or “warm” white for light like an incandescent’s, and choose “bright white,” “natural,” or “daylight” for whiter light.

Myth: CFLs flicker when they first light.

Reality: That happened in earlier CFLs with magnetic ballasts. New ones use faster, electronic ballasts.

Myth: These bulbs need time to turn on.

Reality: Turn-on is now nearly instant. But most CFLs we tested took about 30 seconds to reach 80 percent of their brightness, and some flood and outdoor lights took 90 seconds or more. That’s why some appear dim at first and aren’t ideal for areas such as closets or stairs.

Myth: CFLs contain lots of mercury.

Reality: Each bulb has a tiny fraction of the mercury in a traditional fever thermometer. Energy Star CFLs will have strict limits by the end of this year.

Myth: Compact fluorescent lightbulbs release mercury as they burn.

Reality: The mercury is sealed inside the glass tubing.

Myth: You need to put on a hazmat suit if you drop one of these bulbs.

Reality: Exposure to broken CFLs can pose a health risk, especially to a fetus or young child. But don’t panic. Open a window, shut off central A/C or forced-air heating, and clear the room for at least 15 minutes as the Environmental Protection Agency recommends. Then follow the EPA’S cleanup guide at http://www.epa.gov/mercury/spills. And be sure to keep CFLs out of lamps that could easily tip, especially in rooms used often by children or pregnant women.

Myth: CFLs smoke when they burn out.

Reality: Today’s spent bulbs typically flicker, dim, or emit a reddish-orange glow. If one you own smokes or smolders, turn off power to the light and allow the bulb to cool before removing it and taking it to a retailer or other recycler.

Recycle those Compact Fluorescents! January 30, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in How to about lighting, Uncategorized.
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Zoinks! Its Dr Z, the philospher of fluorescent, the grand poobah of bulb, and seeker of the light of truth…Gaspp*Compact Fluorescents! Did you know they contain mercury? You don’t want just throw these guys in the dumpster when their life has ended. Mercury is a hazardous waste so you want to make sure and recycle them! So what do you do to recycle them? Well, thankfully our heroes at the EPA (the Environmetal Protection Agency) have put up a website detailing where and how you can recycle these little guys! You don’t want throw out the environmental benefit of the bulbs out the window! Check out the link below for more info!



Zoinks! Mercury is Hazardous waste! Recycle those CFL's gang!

Zoinks! Mercury is Hazardous waste! Recycle those CFL's gang!

Dr. Z


The story of the EPA and CFL’s- Does the EPA like the CFL? Maybe we should ask the CIA? January 29, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Definitions about product..
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The Secret is out! The EPA thinks CFL's are ZBEST!

The Secret is out! The EPA thinks CFL's are ZBEST!

NO! You don’t need to talk to the CIA about CFL’s. But the EPA does know a thing or two about CFL’s (in case you don’t know what a CFL is ..it a Compact Fluorescent Light!)

So what does the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) think of CFL’s? Do they support the use of them? Do they believe we should use them to light our houses, homes, and businesses? Do they like their funny little shape?

The answer is :Yes. If you compare a CFL to a standard incandescent bulb, it offers many benefits. First and for mostit helps save energy and money. A CFL will use 75% less energy than a standard incandescent light bulb, and lasts up to 10 times longer if not more. If you replace a 60 watt incandescent with a 13 watt CFL you can see savings of at least $30 over the life of the bulb. These things pay for themselves! I think even the CIA ,FDA, and NBA could support something like that! The second thing about CFL’s is that they produce 70% less heat which means they can cut energy costs associated with home cooling! So EPA has found a find friend in the CFL..


Dr Z




P.S. Energy star has a zany new energy calculator that you can use to calculate the money you are going to save by switching to a CFL. Check out it out at the linke below!