Why CFLs Should be the Lighting Standard

Compact fluorescent bulbs last longer and give off more light than incandescent bulbs. And even though CFLs cost more, they can also be recycled.

| January/February 2002

  • Photo by Joe Coca

Billions of lights flicker on every day in homes across America. We purchase approximately 2.2 million light bulbs every day—and those light bulbs inevitably fail, usually within six months. A typical light bulb lasts only about 750 to 1,000 hours before we toss it into the trash and replace it with a new one, rarely thinking of the ramifications one light bulb may have on the earth.

Short lifespan is just one of the problems. Most of the electricity expended to power these bulbs is given off as heat. Only 10 percent of the electricity is converted into light. And incandescent lights cannot be recycled or reused.

There is an alternative. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are three to four times more efficient at converting electricity into light. Studies have shown that these lights can last up to 6,000 hours. And compact fluorescent bulbs use less electricity overall—only 15 watts of electricity compared with 60 watts for an incandescent. For every compact fluorescent you place in your house, you can avoid replacing up to thirteen incandescent bulbs. According to Energy Star, one compact fluorescent can save you up to $25 over the bulb’s lifetime (including replacement bulbs and electricity costs).

Compact fluorescents cost anywhere from $8 to $15 depending upon the style, so it is expensive to replace every bulb in your house at once. Replacing spent incandescents with compact fluorescents one by one will spread out the initial cost over time.

Fluorescent bulbs can also be recycled, unlike their incandescent cousins. And because compact fluorescents contain low-pressure mercury, it is essential that they are recycled intact or the mercury will escape. Throwing these bulbs in the trash risks leaking hazardous mercury into the environment. Contact your local landfill facility for recycling information in your area.

Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds