Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), when used properly, last up to 10 times longer than incandescent lamps, but they too, eventually burn out. When that happens, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that consumers take advantage of available local recycling options for CFLs.
In fact, the EPA is continually working with CFL manufacturers and major U.S. retailers to expand recycling and disposal options. Consumers can contact their local municipal solid waste agency directly, or go online to epa.gov/bulbrecycling, focusonenergy.com/cflrecycling or earth911.org to identify local recycling options.
If your locality permits you to put used CFLs in the garbage, seal the bulb in two plastic bags Put it into the outside trash or other protected outside location for the next normal trash collection.
Note that CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 4 milligrams. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury – an amount equal to the mercury in 125 CFLs. While there is not a large risk with CFLs, you should never send a CFL or any other mercury-containing product to an incinerator.
Finally, if your ENERGY STAR qualified CFL product burns out before it should, look at the CFL base to find the manufacturer’s name. Visit the manufacturer’s Web site to find the customer service contact information. Contact them to inquire about a refund or replacement. Manufacturers producing ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs are required to offer at least a two-year limited warranty (covering manufacturer defects) for CFLs used at home. In the future, save your receipts to document the date of purchase.
For more information on lighting products and proper disposal, visit powerthinkers.com.
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Source: Alliant Energy: http://alliantenergy.com/UtilityServices/CustomerService/025097#cooling