Unintended penalties of the ban on incandescent bulbs?
Product bans can present a decisive path to environmental change, however when governments resort to warrants, folks resist. One type of resistance is to publish details about the unintended penalties of the ban.
That is the primary yr that the complete results could be felt from a phase-out of incandescent bulbs, triggered when the US Congress handed The Power Independence and Safety Act in 2007. Now all normal goal bulbs should produce no less than 45 lumens per watt, a normal that incandescent bulbs can not meet.
When the sunshine bulb ban was first handed, the Commonwealth Basis and the Heritage Basis, each of which describe themselves on their web sites as “free market suppose tanks,” expressed issues concerning the elimination. compact fluorescent lamps, CFLs.
The Commonwealth Basis wrote in a 2010 article, nonetheless posted on its web site, “Households with younger kids preferring to stick with the standard and safer gentle bulb won’t be able …”, highlighting the impractical procedures really helpful by the US EPA for cleansing flooring after unintended breakage of a fluorescent lamp.
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Likewise, the Heritage Basis wrote, in 2007, once more in an article nonetheless on their web site, “Politicians have used a distorted view of ‘artistic destruction’ blended with issues about international warming to promote regulation (ban incandescent bulbs) … Generally, they have not seen the unintended penalties … CFLs use excessive ranges of mercury, and publicity to mercury vapors is harmful if the bulbs are damaged. “
Now the ban is totally in place, and the substitute seems to not be the anticipated CFLs, however gentle emitting diodes, LEDs. Tech guru Clint DeBoer, who in response to the ban invoked the Boston Tea Celebration on his blog-style web site, avgadgets.com, and coined the phrase “cessation of sunshine with out illustration,” acknowledged that LEDs are an enchancment.
LEDs pay for themselves in power financial savings over their lengthy lifetimes, and “LED lighting is so a lot better than incandescent. Possibly I simply hate that issues are compelled on me prematurely, ”he wrote.
Nevertheless, we should battle towards the elimination of fluorescent bulbs. To search out drop-off websites, go to earth911.com and seek for “CFL” – leaving the “s” doesn’t return any outcomes. Name the websites earlier than you go; some lists are outdated.
For instance, Batteries Plus at Ventura usually accepts each fluorescent tubes and light-weight bulbs, however doesn’t settle for new deposits whereas ready to be picked up of their full containers, in line with Andy Gonzalez, gross sales affiliate.
Batteries Plus in Camarillo accepts each fluorescent tubes and bulbs, together with company, however costs $ 5 per bulb. The Residence Depot in Thousand Oaks used to simply accept each CFLs and tubes, however now, just like the Residence Depot at Oxnard, they solely settle for CFLs, not tubes.
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Stan Wilson from Ventura emailed me asking, “How do they preserve mercury out of the surroundings” when recycling fluorescent bulbs? … Is that this (recycling CFLs) simply one other a kind of good issues we do to fake we’re saving the surroundings? “
In response, Don Sheppard, a Ventura County Built-in Waste Administration Analyst who runs the county’s Air pollution Prevention Heart, instructed me how the collected bulbs are rigorously packaged in cardboard tubes and picked up by Clear. Earth, Inc.
The tubes go to a different firm, which removes the phosphorus powder and extracts the mercury at their plant in Indiana, the place it’s recycled for industrial use. The remaining powder is recycled by Uncommon Earth Restoration Sciences, which extracts the uncommon earth metals.
Glass from lamps was beforehand used to make powdered concrete or tiles, however attributable to low demand, glass now goes with plastic from lamps to landfills. Steel recyclers get well aluminum finish caps.
In contrast to fluorescent lights, however like incandescent bulbs, LEDs go to landfills for disposal.
Doug Kobold, govt director of the nonprofit California Product Stewardship Council, stated: “If producers have been held accountable for the end-of-life prices of their merchandise, they could be extra inclined to design them to be used. ‘they’re extra sturdy, reusable, repairable and recyclable. “
David Goldstein, Environmental Analyst at Ventura County Public Works, could be reached at 805-658-4312 or [email protected]