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Illinois Promotes Light Bulb Switch for Earth Day

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, April 15, 2008 (ENS) – To lighten the planet’s load of greenhouse gases in observance of Earth Day, Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott is encouraging state residents to switch from traditional incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs.

“Next week marks the 38th celebration of Earth Day, which gives us a moment to reflect on how our decisions affect the planet and it also gives us a time to adopt a greener lifestyle for the future,” said Scott.

“If every American home replaced just one light bulb with a CFL, we would prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of nearly a million cars and reduce more than $600 million in annual energy costs,” he said.


Changing traditional incandescent bulbs for
energy-saving compact fluorescents
saves money and saves the climate.
(Photo credit unknown)

CFLs have come down in price and they still offer more savings than cheap, inefficient incandescent bulbs by using less electricity to operate and reducing the need to buy replacement bulbs, Scott said. CFLs can save at least $30 in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime.

In addition to the long-term savings built in to CFL technology, many power companies offer mail-in rebates on CFLs as they do when an energy efficient water heater or furnace is purchased. Go to www.energystar.gov for available rebates.

Because CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury, about the size of the tip of a pen, it is important to properly dispose of and recycle used bulbs in order to recover the small amount of mercury contained in each one.

Mercury is an essential component of CFLs and is what allows the bulb to be an efficient light source, Scott explains.

In the event a bulb is broken it is important to remember not to throw CFLs away in household garbage. Take precautions when cleaning up the broken bulb. Do not use a vacuum cleaner, ventilate the room and keep people and pets away from the breakage area.

A complete list of precautions and suggestions for safely handling a broken bulb is on the Illinois EPA website.

When a CFL reaches the end of its long, efficient life, it can be recycled. Consumers can take advantage of available local recycling options. The Illinois EPA is partnering with ComEd and Ace Hardware to provide free collection of CFLs at 150 Chicagoland and Northeastern Illinois Ace Hardware stores.

The agency is also working with CFL manufacturers and major U.S. retailers to expand recycling and disposal options. Meanwhile, some retail stores that offer proper disposal of CFLs can be found at earth911.org.

The Illinois EPA also offers Household Hazardous Waste collections each spring and fall that give citizens the opportunity to safely dispose of unused or leftover household products commonly found in homes, basements and garages statewide in an environmentally sound manner, diverting them from local area landfills.

Please visit the Illinois EPA Household Hazardous Waste website [www.epa.state.il.us] for more information and local collection dates.

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