In the average U.S. home, lighting accounts for about 20 percent of the electric bill. The easiest way to start saving energy is to change out the light bulbs in your current fixtures for more energy efficient ones. A high-quality compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) will save about $30 over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months. It uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. Nationwide, the energy savings potential is significant. According to the U.S. government’s ENERGY START program, if every U.S. home replaced just one incandescent bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, enough energy would be saved to light more than 3 million homes for a year and reduce energy costs by $600 million.
Because these lamps contain a small amount of mercury, they should be recycled when taken out of service. All states – as well as the Federal Government – encourage consumers to recycle lamps and seven states have enacted laws that make lamp recycling mandatory: CA, MA, ME, MN, NH, VT and WA. You can find recycling locations in your area by visiting the following web sites.
- www.Earth911.org – This is a useful resource for information on all aspects of recycling. Click on “RECYCLE SEARCH” at the top menu bar to migrate to the search engine, which allows users to choose a product category and plug in their zip code to find nearby recycling locations.
- Recycleabulb.com – Operated by Veolia North America Corp., this site also provides a search engine for finding nearby “return centers” for mercury-added lamps, located at the bottom left of the main page.
- http://www2.epa.gov/cfl/recycling-and-disposal-after-cfl-burns-out#whererecycle – This is an information resource on recycling compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency.