Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When green ideas attack

Compact fluorescent lamps are a bad idea on many levels, not least of which is the small amount of mercury present in every lamp.

Greens and governments pretend CFL’s are a good idea because they lower energy use, even though clean-up procedures for a broken lamp read like a do-it-yourself Fukushima hazard.
But as more people use CFL’s, many more dead curly lamps are headed to the landfill, and someone noticed there might be a problem:
Demand for the bulbs is growing as federal and state mandates for energy-efficient lighting take effect, yet only about 2 percent of residential consumers and one-third of businesses recycle them, according to the Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers.  “If the recycling rate remains as abysmally low as it is, then there will certainly be more mercury released into the environment,” said Paul Abernathy, executive director of the Napa-based recycling association. “Until the public really has some kind of convenient way to take them back, it’s going to be an issue.”
The problem is owned by hippies and the greenwashing governments that accepted the green propaganda without so much as a nod at due diligence.  How much of a problem is mercury in landfills?  A big one:
As a result of discarded fluorescent lights, including CFLs, U.S. landfills release into the atmosphere and in stormwater runoff upward of 4 tons of mercury annually, according to a study in the Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association.
Regular readers may recall that Canada recently banned most mercury products to avoid 4.5 metric tonnes of mercury in landfills.  Now we can see that effort is more than offset by the increasing numbers of CFL’s headed to landfills.  People won’t recycle the curly menaces because it’s easier to toss them away, just as they’ve done forever when an incandescent light bulb fails.

safe for your home, but not for the garbage?

Canadian, American, UK and all governments that banned future use of incandescent light bulbs have a problem – if they make too much noise about the dangers of mercury in landfills, they risk people asking why they made the alternatives illegal.

It’s a fair question and it’s one they can’t answer honestly. If they did, CFL’s would be consigned to the trash heap of bad green ideas and we’d get the Edison’s trusty invention back into our homes.

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