You've probably heard about CFLs, or compact fluorescent lights, the energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps that consumers have been encouraged to use instead of typical incandescent lights. In fact, many of you have them in your home or business. They use much less electricity; three quarters less in fact.
The Environmental Protection Agency encourages the use of CFLs to save energy and prevent greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global climate change. However, because of the mercury CFLs contain, they must be disposed of carefully. Manufacturers of fluorescent lighting products are working to reduce the amount of mercury content in CFLs, and no mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or in use, but CFLs release a mercury vapor when broken.
With about 400 million CFLs being sold every year in the United States, it's more important than ever that you don't put them in the Garbage or Recycle carts. However, there are other options.
We encourage you to take them back to any of the locations noted below.
If a fluorescent bulb breaks in your house, the Environmental Protection Agency advises consumers to open a window, have all people and pets leave the room, (making sure no one walks through the breakage area on their way out), and stay out of the area for at least 15 minutes.
For more information and to download a two page document of recommended steps,click here
To download a handy chart to help identify the various types of lighting, click here
To find out more about discarding and disposing of other house hold hazardous waste, you can call Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority about the Household Hazardous Waste Program at (707) 465-1100 or visit their web site