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To change a light bulb?

Posted Monday, January 30, 2012, at 4:24 PM

One bright, clear day our good and faithful electric company sent an offer you can't refuse. Would anyone like six free Compact Fluorescent light blubs? Being a person who knows free when he sees it, I returned their postcard and waited. In "4 to 6 weeks" they came.

As it happened we were in need of one of these nifty, modern thingees. We'd done a little remodeling at my office, adding a hall light fixture. I'd had to "borrow" a bulb out of #1 son's droplight -- a light bulb, which happened to be one of those modern thingees.

So, put #1 son's bulb back where it came from and used one of these free bulbs in my new hall light. So far, so good.

A great thing about these bulbs is that, as the box clearly states, they use less electricity -- "Saves $66 in energy". And, they have a "Rated Life" of 12,000 hours or 11 years.

It blew out after the third day.

As the box not-so-clearly says, "Contains mercury, dispose according to local, state or federal laws."

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management's Frequently Asked Questions includes:

"Do CFLs Contain Mercury?

"CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury. CFLs contain an average of 5 milligrams of mercury, which is enough to cover the tip of a ballpoint pen. A watch battery contains about five times as much mercury. The mercury is safely sealed inside the light bulb's glass tubing and is not emitted when CFLs are in use...

"To prevent the release of mercury into the environment, take CFLs to your local recycling facility instead of throwing them away. Follow these guidelines to ensure proper handling, use and disposal of CFLs: Always recycle burned-out and broken CFLs. To find out where to recycle in your community, visit http://www.recycle.in.gov/.:

A much more interesting Question and Answer:

"What Do I Do If I Break A CFL Bulb?

"Follow these guidelines for cleaning up a broken CFL:

"Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes to let the powder settle and vapors dissipate.

"Using rubber gloves, carefully scoop up the bulb fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard and place in a sealable plastic bag, such as a freezer bag.

"Pick up small glass shards with tape (such as duct tape or packaging tape). Wipe hard surfaces down with a damp paper towel or a disposable wet wipe and place the used towel or wipe in the plastic bag. Do not use a vacuum cleaner to clean up broken CFLs.

Seal all cleanup materials, including gloves and paper, in the plastic bag. Double-seal the plastic bag inside a second plastic bag and store outside or in the garage.

"Take the sealed plastic bags and any other burned-out CFLs to your local solid waste management district or community household hazardous waste collection program for recycling."

Scary stuff indeed.

According to the January 19, 2012 issue of The Brazil Times, Wallace Brothers Disposal has expanded their recycling efforts:

"Wallace Brothers Disposal and Recycling has an area specifically set apart for the sorting of recyclables. The company recycles cardboard, magazines, office paper, paper bags, newspapers, paperboard, milk cartons, tin and steel cans, No. 1-7 plastics, aluminum cans and phone books. The company also recycles electronics such as computers, televisions, small appliances and large home appliances."

With luck, maybe they'd add recycling Compact Fluorescent light blubs. But, is it worth a trip out there to change a light bulb?

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