July 03, 2008 by Steven Castle
Have an energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) that needs recycling? Home improvement retail giant The Home Depot has launched a free in-store CFL recycling program at all of its U.S. locations.
CFLs contain a small amount of mercury, a hazardous substance, so they should not be disposed of in your trash. However, CFLs are many times more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. According to the EPA’s Energy Star program, if every American switched out one incandescent bulb to a CFL, it would prevent more than $600 million in annual energy costs and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions from 800,000 cars. The Home Depot says it sold over 75 million CFLs in 2007, which saved Americans approximately $4.8 billion in energy costs and 51.8 billon pounds in carbon dioxide greenhouse gases over the life of the bulbs.
According to The Home Depot, customers can bring in any expired, unbroken CFL bulbs, and give them to the store associate behind the returns desk. The bulbs will then be managed responsibly by an environmental management company that will coordinate CFL packaging, transportation and recycling to maximize safety and ensure environmental compliance.
The CFL recycling program is an extension of The Home Depot’s Eco Options program, which allows customers to identify products that have less of an impact on the environment. The Home Depot Canada launched a CFL recycling program in November 2007.
In addition to the CFL recycling program, The Home Depot has also launched an in store energy conservation program to switch its light fixture showrooms in U.S. stores from incandescent bulbs to CFLs by Fall 2008 and save $16 million a year in energy costs.
Other places to find CFL recyclers are covered in “Finding E-cyclers.”
To see how to clean up and dispose of a broken CFL, go here.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates
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