Many of you out there seem very spooked by compact fluorescent bulbs. We have received numerous emails from people saying “CF bulbs contain mercury– we should not use them!” or “How can I get rid of my CFs safely!??!” You are right to be concerned, but we do want to say that you absolutely should use CF bulbs and they can be disposed of safely.
Why Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Are Worth Getting
Compact fluorescent bulbs are overall wonderful and you should use them. These bulbs use roughly 1/4 the electricity of normal bulbs and they can last up to 10 times longer. Using CF bulbs will reduce your power bills and also lower your contribution to global warming. So get them!
CFs do contain mercury. A very, very small amount of mercury. According to the EPA, they contain an average of 5 milligrams sealed within the glass tubing. Older thermometers contain 500 milligrams of mercury, so one thermometer is equivalent to 100 CF bulbs! Don’t let the mercury spook you– if you learn how to deal with it, you’ll be fine.
What do I do with a broken CF bulb?
If a CF light bulb breaks in your home, you do need to be careful because of the mercury. You don’t want to breathe the mercury, nor do you want to handle it with your bare hands. Open the windows and air out the room for 15+ minutes.
What do I do with a CF bulb that has burned out?
You do need to dispose of CF bulbs with care. To transport your burned-out bulbs, put them in a plastic bag and seal the bag. (That way if the bulb breaks the mercury is sealed inside the bag.) States and cities deal with CF bulb disposal differently, so you need to check for your local rules and sites.
Now please go ahead and get those CF lights! The planet will thank you.