New lightbulb standards confuse consumers

January 2, 2008 9:20:13 PM PST
We are all being urged to switch over to the compact florescent lightbulbs. In a few years, incandescent bulbs won't even be sold anymore and that has left consumers confused.

Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs), use about a quarter of the energy of a standard bulb. The main issue is that consumers don't understand how to get rid of them once they are used.

Arturo Samayoa showed 7 On Your Side an example of his ecological concern. He has replaced the incandescent bulbs in his kitchen with CFLs. He says his kids get a lot of the credit for that.

"With my kids getting older, they bring material from school and at any time, they can they remind me about recycling or saving energy. So, thanks to the schools, we are becoming more friendly to the environment," said Samayoa.

Arturo has heard plenty about using CFLs, but now, he has a concern: what happens when the bulbs burn out?

"It is easy for someone to just chuck them in the garbage and that's what I have a problem with," said Samayoa.

The bulbs contain mercury and we've heard from other consumers worried about that. We brought all these concerns to PG&E. They say that CFLs are the most environmentally safe way to light your home. Your home thermometer has 100 times more mercury in it then CFLs, so you are talking about trace amount of mercury.

Still, even the smallest amounts of mercury must be disposed of properly and not all stores recycle these bulbs. What is a consumer to do? One thing you can do is log on to Type in your zip code and as easy as that, the nearest CFL disposal sight will pop up for you.

As time goes on, it will get easier and easier. For now, log on and find the closest location. Don't forget to write your lawmakers and tell them that they need to make this process easier.