Thursday, March 20, 2008

11 "Easy" Steps to Dispose of Broken CFLs

You've got to read the below from the EPA, who say we should use these bulbs--INSANE. Plus, 1 CFL bulb makes 6,000 gallons of water toxic (due to the mercury inside it if disposed of improperly--which is very likely to happen).

Before cleanup: Vent the room
1. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
2. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.
Cleanup steps for hard surfaces
3. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
4. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
5. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag.
6. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.
Cleanup steps for carpeting or rug
3. Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
4. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
5. If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.
6. Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.
Disposal of cleanup materials
7. Immediately place all cleanup materials outside the building in a trash container or outdoor protected area for the next normal trash.
8. Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing cleanup materials.
9. Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area. Some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken lamps be taken to a recycling center.
Future cleaning of carpeting or rug
10. For at least the next few times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window prior to vacuuming.
11. Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.


garden girl said...

very scary. think I'll stock up on incandescents while they're still available. Sheesh!

A Red Mind in a Blue State said...

Um, hey guys, nobody told me I was trading in my admittedly energy-wasting bulb for something that has more disposal instructions than a nuclear reactor.

I should have known something was up when Walmart started pushing them-- they're probably made with the toxins left over after the Chinese finish making our kids' toys.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable! Common sense has left the building!

Benjamin: If you come to RI I will make you creme brulee! Grass burning dependent on time of year! LOL

mr_subjunctive said...

I don't see what's so unreasonable about it. This is all only necessary if they break, they're not terribly breakable, you don't have to replace them as often, electric bills are lower. If you don't want to clean up a broken bulb, then don't break the bulb in the first place.

Also, as I understand it, burning more coal, to produce more electricity, to run more incandescent bulbs, releases more mercury into the air than would be needed to make all the CF bulbs anyway.

No doubt a small CFL-disposal industry will be springing up to deal with this sort of situation any moment now.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Everyone: Sure, CFLs are probably better in the long read, but the issue isn't with how breakable they are--to me anyway--but that when they DO burn out, we'll toss them in the trash without a second thought. What we need, apparently, is each house to have a vacuum sealed trash container to place at the curb for a hazmat team to come pick up. I own only one CFL, and I hate the color--feel like I'm in the dentist's office or at work. There are "warmer" ones I've tried but they sucked, too. I'm rambling. Everything is good, everything is bad. Best to just eat chocolate and visit the nursery.

WiseAcre said...

Now I'm waiting HS to break down my door because I've got mini WMDs in my light sockets ready for launch.

Anonymous said...
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lisa said...

Next thing you know kids will be breaking and sniffing these things for a buzz!

Anonymous said...

"If you don't want to clean up a broken bulb, then don't break the bulb in the first place."

mr_subjunctive must not have young children.

kate smudges said...

I had no idea of this ... frightening really. And here I saw 'CFL' in the post title and thought 'Canadian Football League'. (I have a teenage son who is football fan and so my mind often veers to football, quite sadly to me.)

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