CFL Lighting

Did you know…

A 60 watt LED light-emitting diode light lasts over 30,000 hours and higher wattage LED lights often last over 100,000 hours.

LED lights burn a small fraction of the energy a regular or CFL light bulb uses to produce the same amount of light.

LED lights aren’t hot to the touch. Incandescent and CFL bulbs retain more heat due to the fact they aren’t transferring energy as efficiently and waste a lot of your electric bill making heat.

Old light bulbs pollute with dangerous mercury which can get into landfills and water supplies, and can harm you directly if the bulb breaks in front of you.

LED lights are a clean pure energy light source.

(the picture on the right – courtesy of – is of a beautiful color-changing LED Strip light)


Remember, CFLs contain enough Mercury to make it illegal in California to dispose of them in regular solid waste trash.  

What CFLs To Be Aware Of

It is unlawful for Californians to dispose of any lamps containing mercury in the regular solid waste trash. The lamps affected by this law are the following:

  • Fluorescent (full size and compact)
  • Metal halide
  • Sodium lamps
  • Mercury vapor lamps

Disposing Of CFLs Properly

To help you adhere to the law, SDG&E has developed some guidelines for you to follow, as well as a list of resources for disposal when the time comes to replace your new CFLs.

Do Not Place Lamps Containing Mercury Into Your Blue Solid Waste Recycling Bin

Check with your local waste management agency or municipal government entity to find out where to take these items in your area.

Prior To Drop-Off At City Recycling Centers

Wrap the bulb in a sealed plastic bag to reduce the risk of bulb breakage or contamination and to protect yourself from potential cuts.

If Your Bulb Breaks Your greatest risk is of being cut by broken glass. Handle it sensibly and be certain to sweep up all the glass fragments. Don’t vacuum, because that can disperse particles. Place the broken pieces in a plastic bag and wipe the area with a damp paper towel to pick up any stray shards of glass or powder. Continue to properly recycle broken lamps just as you would unbroken ones.

Recycling Locations

Your local municipal government entity responsible for solid waste or household hazardous waste collection can provide a list of facilities or collection events that accept spent CFLs for recycling.

$2,004.28 – that’s the cost of cleaning up a broken CFL for Brandy Bridges in Ellsworth, Maine.  Bridges had the misfortune of breaking a CFL in her daughter’s bedroom.  Aware that CFLs contain potentially hazardous substances, Bridges called her local Home Depot for advice. The store told her that the CFL contained mercury and that she should call the Poison Control hotline, which in turn directed her to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

CFL light

The EPA Guidelines for CFLs are:

      Before Clean-up: Ventilate the Room
1. Have people and pets leave the room, and don’t let anyone walk through the breakage area on their way out.
2. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
3. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.
4. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
5. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
6. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag.
7. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

      So what’s so dangerous about CFLs?  CFLs contain mercury, a potent neurotoxin, and are considered hazardous waste. They also contain EMF emitting units at the base of the bulb.

Bridges was told by the specialist not to clean up the bulb and mercury powder by herself. He recommended an Environmental Services specialist.  The specialist gave Bridges an estimate of  $2,004.28 to clean up the single broken CFL bulb.

Today, Bridges is “gathering finances” to pay the $2,000 for the cleaning herself. That won’t cover the cost for new carpeting and other items that will have to be replaced. Her insurance company said it wouldn’t cover the costs because mercury is considered a pollutant, like oil.  Bridges’ daughter’s bedroom remains sealed off with plastic today “to avoid any dust blowing around” and to keep the family’s pets from going in and out of the room.

Bridges is wondering why the DEP “publicly recanted the statement” it made to an area newspaper, in which DEP officials said it was safe to clean up the CFL bulbs using household materials.  

“I’m really upset. They should not change their story just because it does not fit into a good plan for these light bulbs,” said Bridges. “I’m trying my best to keep my family safe and the state just keeps trying to cover it up. 

It’s quite odd that environmentalists have embraced the CFL, which cannot now and will not in the foreseeable future be made without mercury. Given that there are about five billion light bulb sockets in North American households, the longer it is that we use CFLs, the more hazardous waste sites we’ll create in places like the Bridges’ bedroom.

LEDs are the better solution. They have NO Mercury and are safe for us and safe for the environment.  Go to Eaglelight or LEDinsider for the best selection and value in LED replacement lights.