A Liberal Point of View to Life

RJ has vowed to use CFLs, I too have been chief advocate of CFLs myself. I have also posted a Common Craft video that tells us CFL, though expensive, prove useful in longer run. But in my own house, I am having trouble to implement CFLs. Reason? CFLs do not last long. In 6 months, 3 CFLs have perished. My grandfather is now steadfast to avoid CFLs as he is convinced they are bad quality. Of course, I tried to reason with him, explained my reasons. But he refuses to invest in CFL that he thinks is waste. Yet I invested in more CFLs. Our argument did not finish here.

But I had two new questions in mind. One, I wonder are we not getting good quality CFLs in market? Do your CFLs last long?

Second, why does not government take a step to phase our incandescent bulbs and focus energies on CFLs. That way none of us would use incandescent bulbs. Most countries are phasing these out, and some countries have already banned. Greenpeace, in India, did start a campaign against bulb manufacturers. Though CFLs are mandatory in India in all institutions including hospitals.

Anyway, I had forgotten the argument at home. My grandpa reminded me of our argument when he told me CFL also required careful waste disposal (thank our newspapers!). CFLs have toxic mercury, apparently a Swedish firm has been authorised to collect and recycle CFLs in India. If we are not careful with disposal of our CFLs, it may be part of landfill site or may contaminate public water system.

Dinsan also sent me a link about people living with zero waste. Other time I complained about lack of gradens in my city, Shefaly sent me this interesting article about vertical farming.

May we make zero waste, dispose what we must carefully, plant as much as possible. 🙂

Comments on: "CFLs, Waste and Environment" (10)

  1. I am using CFL here, where I stay .. will try to make CFLs at home too .. soon 🙂

  2. […] few questions about CFLs that I would love to have answered from you. There are three questions in this tiny post (tiny from my standards :P) […]

  3. i think every body should start using it ..including me 🙂

  4. Poonam:

    A CFL bulb contains very small amount of mercury – about 4mg per bulb. To put this in perspective, a thermometer contains up to 3g and a big dental hospital that uses amalgams to do dental filling, releases several kilograms of mercury, mostly into water supplies. It is all very good to focus on CFLs – what about the other bumper sources?

    But yes, the risk is finite and therefore breakage and disposal should be dealt with properly. I think that is the weak link in most economies and not just India.

    In the UK, we are not to dispose our broken CFL bulbs through recycling (glass) or regular waste. You can guess what the extra effort required results in! Contraband disposal in the regular waste which goes into landfill… Oh and did I say we are replacing all regular lights with CFL by 2009? At the moment, these bulbs are expensive, very expensive and also expend more energy in manufacturing that traditional ones. So much for their virtuosity.

    Also there is some evidence that CFLs cause migraines. As someone who routinely loses several days in a year to severe migraine, I am more interested in the ‘exemption’ clauses which will allow some of us to continue using regular bulbs.

  5. I had a discussion regarding the disposal of CFL argument given by people in the comments of a post I made once (http://blog.gadodia.net/why-are-we-indians-like-this/).

    Here’s the main thing… while CFLs (and tubelights) contain mercury which can leak into the environment due to improper disposal,
    the amount of mercury emitted in the atmosphere by a coal-fired power plant to light a regular bulb is way more.

    A majority of power produced in India is from coal-based power plants, so if you compare the amount of mercury you are throwing in the atmosphere when you are lighting bulbs, as compared to when you are lighting CFLs, CFLs win hands down.

    So, next time someone gives you this argument, please make them more aware of this ground reality.

  6. @Shefaly – NO WAY… seriously? I will have to do R&D on this. I get migraines like nobody’s business. And as you can imagine, I am CFL fan. Maybe that has been acting as a trigger for me.

  7. @ Vaibhav:

    There has been no controlled study but the Migraine Association is getting many complaints from migraine sufferers so a study is likely sometime soon. Most health advisories say no more than that they are keeping an eye on developments.

  8. Thanks Shefaly for the tip-off… I am going to keep my own eye out.

  9. @Dinu: That’s good…but did you ever face the problem of using CFLs that do not last?

    @Arvind: Do write a post when you switch to CFl. 🙂
    It will spread the word.

    @Shefaly: I understand that amount of mercury CFL has is small. But I am surprised no one has woken up here about its disposal, though we all promote CFLs. Yes, I knew UK has posted a deadline to phase out incandescent bulbs. Good for them. 🙂

    @Vaibhav: I did not know coal-based power station emitted mercury into the system.

    As for migraine from CFLs, electromagnetic radition from cell phones are also culprits as per some study I read about in newspapers. I am hoping these are very small initiators of migraine.

    I will read your post now.

  10. @Poo – CFLs do last. I have one running at my place for the last one year & I use it every night while cooking. I can check on the brand and tell you. Ironically, none of my new CFLs or the old ones have acted weird.

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