I started wearing reading glasses about two years ago, and now I can't read anything without them.
Tonight I started a new book, and trying to be a good, environmentally-conscious citizen, I turned off every light in the house except one reading lamp.
I couldn't see the freakin' book.
I knew that just a few months ago I could read with only that one lamp for illumination.
Then I found the culprit. My eyesight is getting worse, but there was another factor. The lamp now had a CFL bulb.
I had to turn on the overhead fan lights to compensate, which I think defeats the purpose.
These CFL's are like the water-conserving toilets with the smaller tanks that Congress mandated a couple of decades ago. You know, the ones that you have to flush two or three times to take care of bidness?
Here's U.S. News on the CFL's:
The incandescent light bulb, one of the most venerable inventions of its era but deemed too inefficient for our own, will be phased off the U.S. market beginning in 2012 under the new energy law just approved by Congress. Although this will reduce electricity costs and minimize new bulb purchases in every household in America, you may be feeling in the dark about the loss of your old, relatively reliable source of light.
They got that right.
Can you imagine the uproar there would have been if Congress had tried this 40 years ago? The hardware stores would have instantly sold out of pitchforks.
And then there's the mercury issue. These things, like the familiar long flourescent lights, contain some mercury.
Here's the EPA on how to dispose of the soon to be mandatory CFL bulbs:
1. Open a window and leave the room (restrict access) for at least 15 minutes.
2. Remove all materials you can without using a vacuum cleaner. Wear disposable rubber gloves, if available (do not use your bare hands). Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard. Wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel or disposable wet wipe. Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces and powder.
3. Place all cleanup materials in a plastic bag and seal it. If your state permits you to put used or broken CFLs in the garbage, seal the CFL in two plastic bags and put into the outside trash (if no other disposal or recycling options are available). Wash your hands after disposing of the bag.
4. The first time you vacuum the area where the bulb was broken, remove the vacuum bag once done cleaning the area (or empty and wipe the canister) and put the bag and/or vacuum debris, as well as the cleaning materials, in two sealed plastic bags in the outdoor trash or protected outdoor location for normal disposal.
Actually, that info is now out of date. Most communities now want you to put the bulbs into a disposal pouch and take it to a recycling center, or use a special compact bulb recycling pail.
When you've finished doing that, calculate how much energy you've consumed driving to the recycling center, as opposed to the energy consumed by chunking your old incandescent bulbs into the trash.
Here's a video on one possible way to recycle your old CFL bulbs. I know that everyone in America is going to do this instead of throwing them into the trash. You are going to do this, aren't you?
You might be asking yourself....Why are we having to go through all of this?
Well, General Electric lobbied for the ban of the old bulbs, and they donate to more campaigns than you do. Here's The Washington Examiner:
“Government did us in,” says Dwayne Madigan, whose job will terminate when General Electric closes its factory next July.
Madigan makes a product that will soon be illegal to sell in the U.S. - a regular incandescent bulb. Two years ago, his employer, GE, lobbied in favor of the law that will outlaw the bulbs.
Madigan’s colleagues, waiting for their evening shift to begin, all know that GE is replacing the incandescents for now with compact fluorescents bulbs, which GE manufactures in China.
Lordy, that's cold.
People should be able to manufacture whatever they want to, wherever they want to, as long as it doesn't harm someone else. But lobbying for a ban on your old product line so you can have a succesful launch of the new stuff? That's cold.
This guy is suggesting that we all mail some busted CFL's to our Congressman on September 30th.
The current bunch of Congressmen would probably hire 30 union members, 5 environmental impact experts, and half the D.C. police force to supervise the cleanup.
So let's not mail our dead CFL's anywhere.
Let's re-name them.
Those inadequate, squishy, little light bulbs reminded me of something. Or someone. I couldn't figure it out for the longest time. And then it hit me....