Thursday, January 17, 2008

Energy saving lamps and mercury

We have all been encouraged to use Energy Star lights, such as the compact fluorescents bulbs. These can consume 75% less energy than a comparable incandescent light. They last longer, and use less energy. What have we got to lose? The problem is that these lights are made with mercury, and we can't throw them in our regular trash or traditional recycling programs. In 2006, the state passed a law that would mandate consumer friendly recycling by manufacturers, and an education program for the public. It states in part : "No person, household, business, school, healthcare facility or state or municipal government shall knowingly dispose of a mercury-added product in any manner other than by recycling, disposing as hazardous waste or using a method approved by the department."(sec. 6I)
The Dept. of Environmental Protection has an information page on mercury, and has posted the final regulations for recycling mercury-added products. At this time, recycling options are limited, but the regulations kick into gear starting in March.
Now we can save energy and not adversely impact the environment.