Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs)
(mercury-containing, energy-efficient light bulbs)
High energy costs have driven consumer and business interest in compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). CFLs are highly energy efficient and can save about $30 in electricity costs over the lifetime of the bulb (and they last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs!). Utility companies, state and local government officials and private businesses work together to increase consumer awareness and acceptance of these lights as a great way to conserve energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat global climate change.
The small amount of mercury contained in CFLs is a necessary component which contributes to the energy efficiency of the lights. Industry continues to reduce the amount of mercury used in CFLs, and is expected to reduce the average amount below the 5 milligrams currently used. Aware of the dangers of mercury pollution, many consumers and businesses wonder if purchasing mercury-containing devices is a good idea. In the case of CFLs, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions reduced through energy efficiency make a strong case for replacing incandescent lights with CFLs.
Reducing mercury pollution is important for protecting public health and our environment, and CFLs should be recycled at the end of their life. Recycling programs for CFLs are just now getting attention nationally and more companies are offering solutions. However, few community recycling opportunities exist for consumers. The links below provide information on proper disposal of CFLs and recycling programs, as well as energy conservation information.
- Disposing of Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)
- Mercury and Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)
- Energy Star information on Proper Disposal of Compact Fluorescent
Light Bulbs (CFLs).
- EPA Factsheet: Mercury in Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
- Energy Conservation In Your Home – includes information on the 25 percent Montana energy conservation tax credit
- Energy Star Change a Light, Change the World Campaign – includes information and tools for businesses and home owners, including purchasing tips and savings calculators. Take the Pledge!