Out with the old, in with the GREEN!
According to the EPA, lighting accounts for 20% of our energy use. If every US home replaced one standard incandescent bulb with an Energy Star-Approved efficient compact fluorescent light (CFL), we would collectively conserve enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year. Additionally, we would save about $600 million and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year. That is equivalent to removing 800,000 cars from our atmosphere. And, as a bonus, the CFL's are 75% more efficient and last 10 times longer than a standard bulb!
CFL's come in many choices including daylight, blue-ish white, and soft yellow. At big hardware stores like Lowes and The Home Depot, they have the newest "green" bulbs lit up in a section so you can see the color of the light before you purchase. Or, if you want to go even greener, switch to light emitting diodes (LED's)!
Q: Can you recycle the new green light bulbs? Isn't there mercury in the CFL bulb?
A: Yes, there is a small amount of mercury in green light bulbs, but handled with care, it shouldn't be a problem. Just remember, recycle a used or broken bulb with care and ease.
The upside of living in a city is that you can recycle most items conveniently and very easily. Most large stores who sell CFL's offer you the opportunity to return the used bulbs to the store for safe recycling. The Home Depot and IKEA offer this safe option for customers. But if you aren't near a big store, you can drop off your used bulbs at a municipal household hazardous waste facility. For more CFL and LED light recycling information, visit Earth 911.