Beliefnet
Fresh Living

cfs.jpgWe all know that changing to energy-efficient, compact-flourescent lightbulbs can significantly lower our carbon footprints.  But did you know that these bulbs, while “green” in the energy-usage sense, actually contain mercury, a toxic metal?

This makes the bulbs potentially dangerous to pregnant women, children, and others if they break–and if they wind up in landfills, you can imagine the environmental consequences of millions of shattered mercury-bulbs.

This doesn’t mean that you should burn more fuel and go back to the old-style lightbulbs.  But it does mean that compact-flourescent lightbulb recycling is going to have to be taken to a new level, and soon–more than 248 million energy-efficient bulbs sold in 2008, according to this Boston Globe article.

The article reports on a piece of legislation currently in front of the governor in Maine that would insititute a bulb-recycling program that would cost the state $0.50 to $1 per bulb but would enable people to drop off old bulbs for recycling at hardware stores and other accessible sites for free.

Massachusetts and Vermont are already considering similar bills.  Is your state?  Write to your representative and voice your hope that safe recycling practices can make these energy-saving lightbulbs safe from when you buy them to when you dispose of them.

(image via: http://itsallgreen.wordpress.com/2007/11/11/changing-your-incandescent-light-bulbs-to-cfs/)

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