environment


In Halton, United Kingdom, there is an award-winning, 6 foot high wind-powered flower sculpture with bright yellow perspex petals illuminated by wind-powered LED lights. The architect was Tonkin Liu who received £125,000 pounds from his public art design.

The petals of the flower are made of perforated galvanized steel. Beneath the petals are 60 LED lights powered by the wind. As the wind blows at speeds above 5 miles an hour, three wind turbines attached to the flower’s stem collect energy and power the LEDs.

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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 Eaglelight.com – is of a beautiful color-changing LED Strip light)

The U.S. population is less than a quarter of the size of China’s, but Americans consume almost 6 times more energy per person than the Chinese — though that’s changing.  America’s oil use has been declining since 2007, while China’s getting thirstier. Oil consumption there is rising 5 percent a year.  China is investing heavily in renewable energy to lead the green revolution.  In his State of the Union address this year, President Barack Obama said, “The nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.”  The USA and China are collaborating on LED lighting technology. Both Cree in North Carolina and SeeSmart in California collaborate with Chinese companies in the production of their LED lighting.  See CBS News Report.

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.

If you haven’t seen this wonderful (!!) video about our beautiful planet, take the few minutes to see the video.

Help save our planet. Buy LED lights and stop using incandescent bulbs or CFLs, today!

Best Buy Takes Electronics Recycling NationwideBest Buy is expanding a pilot electronics recycling program to the entire United States. Beginning February 15th, 2009, you will be able to bring up to two electronic units per day per household to your nearest Best Buy for recycling. They will accept televisions and monitors up to 32″ in size, desktop PC’s, notebooks and laptops, computer accessories such as keyboards and mice, VCR’s, DVD players, cell phones, and remote controls. Best Buy will charge a $10 recycling fee for most items with screens such as TV’s but will immediately issue you a Best Buy gift card for the same amount. All items they accept will be disposed of through third-party recycling partners.

Items Best Buy will NOT accept under this program include appliances, air conditioners, microwave ovens, items with screens larger than 32″, and items with Freon. However, Best Buy will pick up and haul away these items if they are also delivering you a new product. They will also pick up items for recycling without a delivery but with a $100 fee for up to two items, and $20 per additional item.

Best Buy will also continue its recycling kiosks at the front of every store where you can recycle cell phones, PDA’s, CD’s, DVD’s, ink cartridges, and rechargeable batteries.

The company’s newly announced program for electronics will be an enormous benefit to every community with a Best Buy in the country, which have all had to rely on ad hoc, patchwork processes for keeping these items out of landfills. Here in Arlington, Virginia the recycling of these materials is a major pain in the rear. They are considered “hazmats,” and there is only one designated center for hazmats in the County–that being at a local water treatment plant. Their open “office hours” are 9-3 on Saturdays; otherwise an appointment must be made to drop the materials off another time. They also charge more than Best Buy for disposing of items with screens. While it’s great to have that service, it can’t compare to being able to go to the nearby Best Buy at any time they’re open and just drop these items off. Hopefully communities everywhere will see a major uptick in the recycling of these materials as a result of the convenience Best Buy will soon be offering.

$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. 

  

 

 

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