So you’ve decided to be a responsible citizen of planet earth. You’ve decided to make small changes which add up. CFLs are a no-brainer step to take – they drop lighting energy needs to 25% on average with zero impact on your lighting needs. They pay for themselves (especially if you live in California, where PG&E subsidizes the cost of CFLs). Nice job.
Unfortunately, you’ve brought Mercury into your home. We’re only talking about 5mg Hg here per bulb (thermometers use 100 times more), but it’s important to dispose of this stuff the right way to avoid adverse health. Here is the ADD version of the Dept of Energy’s instructions on disposing of broken CFLs:
1. Don’t touch it. Open a window and leave the area for 15 minutes.
2. Scoop up the remnants using disposable cloth, paper towel, or sticky tape and drop them in a sealed plastic bag. Do not vacuum the area.
3. Seal the bag with another sealed bag.
4. Take the bagged bag to a recycling center. Don’t trash it.
As always, use your common sense – if you have a little one in the house who loves breaking things and putting them in her mouth, use normal bulbs on low hanging table lamps.