NYC Resources 311 Office of the Mayor
Newsletter Signup Printer Friendly Email a Friend Translate This Page
Text Size: A A A
NYC - recycle more, waste less New York City Recycles NYC Department of Sanitation
Lighting

illustration: lightbulbs

Share/Bookmark    

fluorescent and compact fluorescent bulbs
flashlights
lighting timers and motion sensors


Fluorescent and Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs)

why use CFLs and fluorescent tubes?
what about mercury?
how do I dispose of bulbs?
what if a bulb breaks?

ALSO SEE:
helpful links

WHY USE FLUORESCENT BULBS AND CFLs?

Replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs reduces energy costs and waste. CFLs use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Using CFLs can save you some money in the long term while reducing the number of light bulbs you throw in the trash.

Most hardware stores carry a variety of energy efficient, compact fluorescents in shapes designed to fit fixtures both in and outside your home. While the initial purchase price of a compact fluorescent is higher, it lasts about ten times longer than an incandescent bulb and uses less electricity.

WHAT ABOUT MERCURY IN CFLs?

CFLs are one of many common household products that contain traces of mercury. While CFLs do contain 5 milligrams of mercury on average, this is miniscule compared to other common household products. In comparison, the average mercury thermometer contains 500 milligrams of mercury and mercury thermostats contain 3,000 milligrams of mercury. Four and eight foot fluorescent tubes contain an average of 10-15 milligrams of mercury. The number one source of mercury emissions in the US is from coal-burning power plants. Using CFLs will reduce these emissions because using them requires less energy usage.

CFLs are safe to use. There is a miniscule amount of mercury in CFLs, this mercury is needed to allow the bulb to be an efficient light source. When bulbs are intact or in use, mercury is not released. It is only released if a bulb is mistakenly broken.
 

HOW DO I DISPOSE OF BULBS?

WHAT IF A FLUORESCENT BULB OR CFL BREAKS?

All lamps are made of glass and should therefore be handled carefully to avoid breakage. CFLs and fluorescent tubes do contain minimal amounts of mercury but are safe to use. If you break a bulb, follow the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) guidelines leaving NYCWasteLess to ensure your safety.

 back to top | back to shopping tips


Flashlights

Nothing is more important than a flashlight during a power outage or when you have car trouble at night.

A number of manufacturers sell high beam flashlights powered by rechargeable batteries. Prevent waste by eliminating single-use batteries.

You can also use innovative products that run on solar, magnetic, or human power. See products and services for examples of innovative alternatives to batteries.

back to top | back to shopping tips


Lighting Timers and Motion Sensors

Installing timers or motion sensors can eliminate waste and save you money. Placing these items in specific rooms or closets, basements, and outdoor areas ensures that the lighting is available when you need it, and that lights will be turned off if you accidentally leave them on. Outdoor motion sensors also are helpful if you come home after dark and need light to find the keyhole.

Time-based controls are the least expensive. Check them out at your favorite hardware store.

back to top | back to shopping tips


Go to:

  Tips for your home
  basement/storage | bedroom | car | kitchen | living room | yard

  Tips while shopping 
  appliances | dry cleaner | hardware | grocery store | deli

  Tips in apartment buildings 

  Tips for home improvements 

 

 

HOW DO I DISPOSE OF FLUORESCENT BULBS AND CFLs?

Site Map

Copyright 2013 The City of New York Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use