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Now, more than ever, people are looking for ways to save. In times of tightening budgets, reducing your electric bill makes a lot of sense.

So, how would you like to lower your cost of energy while helping save our environment?

There is an easy and affordable way to do both – simply change out traditional incandescent light bulbs for Compact Fluorescent lamps – CFLs.

Since household lighting makes up about 20% of the average family’s electric bill, changing over to CFLs can make a difference.

CFLs use about 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs…

…and can last up to 10 times longer.

You can save $30 or more in electricity costs over the lifetime of each CFL you install.

Better still, CFLs produce 75% less heat than standard incandescent bulbs so they are safer to operate and can cut out energy costs for cooling your home in our warm Florida climate.

When you add it all up, changing over to CFLs make a lot of economic as well as environmental sense.

If every American home replaced just one standard light bulb with a CFL, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year…

…we would save more than $600 million in energy costs…

…and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking 800,000 cars off our roads.

While CFLs and other fluorescent lamps offer energy savings and environmental benefits, we need to be sure to handle them safely. The technology that makes CFLs so efficient utilizes a very small amount of mercury, so it is important to handle and recycle CFLs in the proper manner.

On average, each CFL contains about 5 milligrams of mercury…

…about the amount that would cover the very tip of a ballpoint pen.

To put that amount of mercury into perspective, a typical mercury-filled thermometer contains about 500 milligrams – or 100 times more mercury than in a CFL.

Like a standard light bulb, CFLs are made of glass, so they should be handled with care and will break if dropped or roughly treated.

While as easy to install as a standard light bulb, it is always wise to be careful and aware when installing any CFL.

Should a CFL burn out or break, you should recycle the materials properly.

Recycling is available at your local county’s household hazardous waste management center as well as selected retailers and home improvement centers.

Most Florida communities have facilities for recycling or disposing of hazardous materials. Information about managing household hazardous waste at a facility in your county can be found at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection website.

Should a CFL break, it is essential that you follow safe clean-up procedures before taking the broken materials to a local government household hazardous waste collection center.

You can reach the Florida DEP Division of Waste Management at the number shown hear or call Earth911 at 1-800-CLEANUP (1-800-253-2687)

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection recommends that you follow these four steps for the safe clean-up and disposal of broken CFLs.

Step One – ventilate the room. Open a window and keep everyone out of the room for at least 30 minutes. If available, point a floor or pedestal fan at the open window. A ceiling fan will provide some benefit but will not move the air out of the room.

Step Two – pick up all the materials you can and be sure to wear disposable gloves.

Do not use a vacuum cleaner.

Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard.

Use sticky tape to pick up small pieces. Wipe the area with a damp disposable towel.

Step Three – double bag and recycle. Place the broken CFL and clean-up materials in double plastic bags and seal the bags.

Take the materials to a county household hazardous waste center or local collection event. Do not take the broken lamp to your retail recycler since they are not equipped to manage this material. Manage it at one of the local household hazardous waste collection centers mentioned earlier.

Step Four – remember to wash your hands thoroughly after completing each of the previous three steps.

Properly recycling broken or burned out CFLs is good for you, the community, the economy and the environment.

While CFLs contain only a very small amount of mercury, it is important that we keep any mercury from contaminating our air, surface water and ground water.

Recycling has a dramatic impact on keeping mercury out of our environment.

Disposing of CFLs or fluorescent lamps in household trash means that mercury is not only seeping out of landfills it is contaminating our neighborhoods and communities, including your trash can and garbage collector’s truck.

Proper management of the disposal of mercury-containing lamps is essential for protecting Florida's most precious natural resources - our wetlands, our waterways and our coastline. We have already seen periodic fish consumption advisories impact major portions of our coastline and must stay vigilant to keep them safe.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has responded with research to better understand this problem and to develop effective controls.

Your help in properly recycling CFLs and fluorescent lamps can eliminate a key source of mercury.

This minimizes environmental impact as well as reducing the cost of expensive clean-up efforts. Recycling helps preserve Florida’s environment.

…while the energy efficiency of CFLs helps reduce our state’s carbon footprint by using less fossil-fuel-generated electricity.

Today’s CFLs are not just yesterday’s “curly-q’s.” There are a number of products available at your local retailer to meet lighting requirements; offering energy savings; and benefiting the environment.

Changing to CFLs makes great economic sense by lowering your electric bill.

Recycling burned out or broken CFLs makes sense for the environment by protecting Florida’s precious natural resources.

Become part of Florida’s Recycling Team – when you recycle, we all benefit!

Last updated: May 29, 2014

Permitting and Compliance Assistance Program #850-245-8707 MS #4565

 

Division of Waste Management #850-245-8705 MS #4500
2600 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2400

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