Light bulb conversion prompts concerns about viability of CFL recycling

In 2007, Congress overwhelmingly passed a bill that would gradually phase out incandescent light bulbs to pave the way for more energy-efficient light sources. While this is a major step for the country, it does bring up significant questions about the viability of the new light sources and the ways that consumers can dispose of them properly. Incandescent bulbs are already being replaced by compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and new versions of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are hitting the market every day.

Each of these products have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, but CFLs are currently the most cost-effective means of lighting one's home. However, while these products can reduce energy bills, they contain trace amounts of mercury in each bulb. As we all know, this substance can be extremely dangerous and can't be disposed of in an everyday recycling bin. These bulbs must be recycled at the proper facilities, and there are many non-profit organizations across the country that can dispose of them efficiently without harming the environment.

On the other end of the store shelf are LEDs, which are truly the wave of the future. These lights are not made with mercury or halogen gases, and they last nearly twice as long as CFLs. However, these lights are still very expensive and effective light bulb replacements for incandescents are still a long way off.

When individuals make the switch away from incandescents, they must be aware that the new bulbs are recycled in a much different way than their predecessors. By doing the necessary research and finding the right recycling center to dispose of them, consumers can help to reduce their carbon footprints and live a greener lifestyle.