Recently, my 4th grader brought home a report from school about saving energy. It talked at length about the benefits of switching from incandescent to fluorescent lighting. I remember seeing some articles awhile ago about fluorescent bulb recycling in Eugene/Springfield, but hadn’t thought much about it since. That is, until now.
If you aren’t familiar with CFLs (compact fluorescent light), many CFLs are designed to replace an incandescent light and can fit into most existing light fixtures. CFLs give off the same amount of visible light, use less power and has an average life span 8 to 15 times that of incandescent. CFLs use 20 to 33 percent of the power of equivalent incandescent lamps. Use of CFLs could save as much as 7% of total U.S. household power usage. Think of it this way….a household that invested $90 in changing 30 fixtures to CFLs would save $440 to $1,500 over the five-year life of the bulbs. Imagine getting a 12% discount on your utility bill.
Fluorescent lamps get their efficiency from the very small amount of mercury they contain. Since fluorescent lamps do contain mercury (does not pose a health risk to you or your family), they become harder to dispose of. Disposing of these bulbs are a concern for landfills and waste incinerators, where the mercury from lamps may be released and contribute to air and water pollution. As a result, county and state-run collection programs have been created to safely extract the mercury for recycling.
We in Lane County boast our own impressive fluorescent recycling program. The Lane County collection program, which is sponsored by Lane County and local Electrical Utilities, began in 2004 as a pilot project and has made great strides in 7 years. They have been encouraging Lane County residents to not only make the switch to CFLs but to recycle them as well. A little encouragement went a long way, with 95,225 fluorescent bulbs collected last year alone. Recently the Greener Side of Life in Springfield joined the list as the newest retail collection point for recycling. I was pleased to find out that Greener Side of Life is the 17th retailer to join the program.
If you have a fluorescent bulb that has reached the end of its life, and needs to be disposed of, please take it to one of these retail stores for recycling:
- Aqua Serene 2836 West 11th Ave
- Brighter Homes Lighting 1968 W 6th Ave
- Emerald People’s Utility District 33733 Seavey Loop Rd
- Eugene True Value Hardware 2825 Willamette St
- Greater Goods 515 High St
- Heinke Electrical and Lighting 645 Adams Street
- Jerry’s Home Improvement Center 2600 Hwy 99 North
- Lane Electric Cooperative 787 Bailey Hill Rd
- The Green Store 500 Olive Street
- Greener Side of Life 623 W Centennial Blvd
- Jerry’s Home Improvement Center 2525 Olympic St
- Oregon’s Constant Gardener 2053 Laura St
- B & I True Value Hardware 120 W 6th Ave
- Cascade Home Center 49 South 6th St
- Cascade Home Center 104 South Mill St
- True Value Hardware 1750 Hwy 126
If you’re not sure what bulb or light qualifies as a recyclable to be dropped off, here are some guidelines:
Fluorescent Lamps from household sources only and nothing over 4 feet in length. If you are a household with fluorescent lamps over 4 feet in length please call 541-682-4120 for recycling options.
Does Not Qualify
Incandescent lamps and fluorescent lamps more than 4 feet in length. Lamps from outside of Lane County do not qualify. Please contact your local waste management department for recycling locations and options.
This program is for households only. Fluorescent lamps from non-household sources such as businesses, schools, churches and non-profits should call 541-682-4120 for recycling options.
Green may be the new black, but we have a long way to go to ensure that our children will not have to bear the burden of our wear and tear. I am glad that we are teaching our kids to be more responsible with the planet (after all, it’s the only one we have) and even more so, knowing that we are practicing what we preach….as a community.
For more information about this program, you can call Lane County Waste Management at 541-682-4120 or visit their website.