The average Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb contains about 5 milligrams of mercury. About enough to coat the tip of your ball point pen. Not much.
Here’s the thing. With everyone from Al Gore to the local “green blogger” down the street touting the advantages of the energy-efficient CFL’s as one simple strategy in stopping (er… mitigating) global warming, the sale of CFL’s is skyrocketing.
Multiply 5 milligrams by 150 million (the number of bulbs sold last year) and that’s a lot of ball point pen tips coated with mercury – if you catch my drift.
The main concern is that many of those 150 million bulbs aren’t being properly recycled, instead ending up in landfills. Now the mercury starts to become a real problem.
Of course, the best case scenario is that everyone using CFL’s (as we all should be, by the way) will properly dispose of used bulbs.
Alas, that isn’t likely to happen. Surely nobody reading Triple Pundit is going to simply through a CFL in the trash, but there are those that will.
As reported in the Environmental News Network, GE’s goal is to cut the amount of mercury in CFL’s to only 1 milligram.
That’s a very good thing, but no excuse to not properly dispose of a CFL – any mercury in the environment is a hazard.