Did you know that as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the U.S. is phasing out incandescent bulbs?
That's right, starting in 2012, 100 watt bulbs will no longer be around. 75 watts will be phased out in 2013 and 60 watt bulbs go to the light in 2014. These bulbs will supposedly be replaced by more efficient bulbs such as CFLs.
I think this is good news, although I'm still concerned of the mercury disposal associated with throwing out CFLs. We really need to have an easy and cheap way of disposing our CFLs otherwise, with this forced changeover, I'm afraid the majority of people will just throw them in the trash. Then they will be headed straight for the landfill and possibly, the groundwater.
The other problem is that most people just aren't educated enough about the problems with CFLs. Do you know what to do if you break a CFL bulb? Most people don't. The EPA considers a broken CFL to be a "hazardous waste spill". You are supposed to leave the room and air it out for at least 15 minutes to let the mercury vapors settle down and then clean up the room carefully, wiping the floor with damp paper towels that should be disposed of outside. And don't use a vacuum, or the mercury vapor will be dispersed, plus you'll have all that junk in your vacuum. And then there are those who just pooh-pooh the dangers of CFLs. Who is right?
So, while I'm glad to see that more energy savings are on the horizon, I think there are still some holes in the plan that need filling. What about recycling centers that accept CFLs? Well, you have to drive there to recycle them and depending on where you live, the amount of gasoline to get there probably outweighs the savings from switching to CFLs in the first place.
In Seattle, we have stores where you can drop off your CFLs, but it costs money and they aren't all conveniently located. What kind of CFL recycling do you have in your area?