Back to Reality, or How Do I Get Rid of a Light Bulb?

Thanks to all of you who commented on my anniversary post. It was great fun to put together and to remember. Now, we are getting back to real life.

I burned out a light bulb the other day. Well, what’s the BFD you say, it’s only a light bulb, right? Ah, ha, wrong! Prompted by the EPA and everyone else in the “green” community, we have replaced most of our light bulbs with the compact fluorescent ones. They sound so great, right? But, even as good as they might be for reducing emissions, etc., they have a pretty big “catch”–they contain MERCURY, so you can’t just throw them away.

Here’s how GE lighting says to dispose of them:

“Follow these guidelines to dispose your CFL properly:

Like paint, batteries, thermostats, and other hazardous household items, CFLs should be disposed of properly. Do not throw CFLs away in your household garbage if better disposal options exist. To find out what to do first check (where you can find disposal options by using your zip code) or call 1-877-EARTH911 for local disposal options. Another option is to check directly with your local waste management agency for recycling options and disposal guidelines in your community. Additional information is available at Finally, IKEA stores take back used CFLs, and other retailers are currently exploring take back programs. If your local waste management agency offers no other disposal options except your household garbage, place the CFL in a plastic bag and seal it before putting it in the trash. If your waste agency incinerates its garbage, you should search a wider geographic area for proper disposal options. Never send a CFL or other mercury containing product to an incinerator. ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs have a two-year warranty. If the bulb fails within the warranty period, return it to your retailer.” (emphasis mine).

Well, I can tell you for certain that there is no Ikea within 200 miles of me, so that’s right out. I checked the link at the earth911 site, and there are actually 4 places in Pueblo who will RECYCLE these bulbs but they don’t seem to mention burned out ones, so I will have to call. Not that it’s such a big deal to try to recycle the things, but you know MERCURY is extremely poisonous. It’s poisonous on your skin, poisonous if you breathe it, poisonous in the dirt, poisonous in the water. To me, it doesn’t sound like such a great trade off, but then that’s just me.

It makes me wonder. There seems to be so little thought going into things anymore. We get so “overwrought” about the least thing, and have to have a SOLUTION RIGHT NOW!!!! We can’t seem to take enough time to consider the future ramifications of anything we do for longer than a week. Oh, it might have consequences 10, 20, 50 years from now? Oh, hell, let THEM worry about that, right? WE WANT OUR ANSWERS RIGHT NOW, DAMMIT!

Still, it’s only a light bulb, right?

Except that it’s not.

Yep. Back to reality, all right.



5 thoughts on “Back to Reality, or How Do I Get Rid of a Light Bulb?

  1. I had no idea there was this problem with these things, and I’ve just been in the process of replacing all my bulbs, wonderful. I’m going to have to check this out, thanks for the heads up!

  2. Oy!

    While you’re at it, can you find out how I would safely dispose of Senior Witch’s hearing aid batteries?


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