staff writer LED Canada
When compact fluorescent light bulbs were first introduced to the North American market, they were strongly touted as”eco-choice or eco-friendly “millions of taxpayer dollars were poured into consumer information programs that would even give free compact fluorescent light bulbs to consumers who would line up at the local Canadian tire. It's impossible to find numbers on how much government and corporate subsidies on CFL products affect its shelf price, amounting to a hidden price tag for an actual price for CFLs through subsidies.
Consumer interest (sales) in compact fluorescent bulbs peeked in 2007, many problems were reported by consumers and there have been recent recalls on certain compact fluorescent products. CFLs sealed tubes can sometimes break or crack during operation and release harmful mercury vapor into the immediate environment.
Energy-efficient fluorescent lighting requires both phosphorus and mercury in various amounts, these technologies cannot produce light without toxic materials suspended in glass tubes. These products are considered hazardous material and health Canada has guidelines that suggest how close your head should be to an operating CFL! and how to properly clean up a broken CFL.
No one disputes that compact fluorescent light bulbs are ending up in our landfills. These products must be properly collected at the end of life, and the mercury stabilized with powdered sulfur before it can enter the environment through our waterways.
Mercury and phosphorus can be reclaimed from retired products, however it's quite expensive and few facilities exist in North America.
The Government of Canada has left it up to retailers such as London drugs at Home Depot to voluntarily collect expired compact florescence even if not purchased at that particular location. In fact London drugs will accept 4 foot fluorescent tubes even though they do not sell that particular product. Unfortunately data suggests less than 5% of fluorescent products ever enter a reclamation center, 95% are tossed out with the trash and easily help lead to methylmercury poisoning in local waterways.
Standard procedure is to crush expired florescence products, with Mercury stabilized by sulfur powder and then put in containers marked toxic waste.
The new pollution free choice: next generation LED lighting.
These new, superefficient light engines are producing amazing amounts of light per single watt of energy used. (Cree recently released a 140 lumen per watt LED chip set) this is up to three times the light produced by compact fluorescent technology, with no mercury or hazardous materials whatsoever.
LED Price barrier
LEDs can be many times as expensive as their counterpart CFLs, however a recent Consumer Reports Canada confirms a $40 LED bulb potentially can save between $60 and $400 in energy costs over its lifespan.
Good-bye toxic CFLs , Hello to safe ,energy-efficient LEDs.