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[GreenYes] Re: CFL disposal in MN and other CFL issues

Hi, Doug

LED's are commercially available and used readily in higher-end commercial
applications and are begining to appear in very high-end residential homes
mostly as under-counter lights. They will most likely fundamentally change
the face of lighting, but are a long way from being universally applicable.

Similar to Moore's Law for computers, LED's are regularly reducing the
amount of energy used per lumen produced.

Your defense of incandescents is mostly correct, but each justification gets
less and less important as time goes on. The light quality of CFL's is
changing (for the better) regularly with a number of much "warmer" bulbs now
being marketed through main-stream retailers. The biggest drawbacks are
down-lighting, oudoor lighting in extreme (MN) cold temps and dimming. Each
is being addressed by the industry. BUt, I'm not sure either or the
combination justifies a 125 year old, 5% efficient technology like the


On 2/21/07, Doug Koplow <koplow@no.address> wrote:
> The attached post is from Anne Morse about CFL disposal financing in MN,
> and may be of interest to some on the list.
> I personally have found the HHW drop-off program in our area inconvenient
> and time consuming, so I don't favor this as the venue for bulb recovery
> nationally. My concern is that participation rates would be very low, as
> the larger the cost in time or complexity for people to participate in a
> program, the smaller the percentage of people who actually will. The MN
> program in interesting in using utility funding to underwrite proper CFL
> disposal. Better than nothing, but the utility has little leverage over
> bulb manufacture. Fees directly on the sale of bulbs, linked to mercury
> content, would send a better signal to manufacturers to come up with
> alternative formulations.
> There was another posting noting a proposal in Australia to ban
> incandescent bulbs. Not a great idea in my view. First of all,
> conservation of energy resources should be encouraged through the proper
> pricing of electricity, not through bans of specific products that use
> electricity. Lots of products use more electricity than incandescent
> lighting per unit of energy services delivered (air conditioning, for
> example). Are these to be restricted or banned as well? Second, CFLs are
> not yet a perfect substitute for incandescents -- even ignoring the mercury
> issue. The light quality is improving, but still not as good as
> incandescent. The bulbs can't be easily used in certain applications, such
> as with dimmers, in some outdoor applications, or in small fixtures that
> require high lumen output.
> I've gotten some e-mails about whether a tax on incandescent bulbs should
> be used to pay for CFL recovery. The problem here is that CFLs are not the
> only game in town. Cross-subsidizing the problems with CFLs could impede
> the movement to market of lighting sources that are both efficient and
> toxics-free. I believe that LED lighting is one such technology, and would
> be interested in whether anybody on the list knows how close these are to
> being able to compete with CFLs.
> -Doug Koplo
> _______________________________
> Doug Koplow
> Earth Track, Inc.
> 2067 Massachusetts Avenue - 4th Floor
> Cambridge, MA 02140
> Tel: 617/661-4700
> Fax: 617/354-0463
> This message, and all attachments thereto, is for the designated recipient
> only and may contain privileged, proprietary, or otherwise private
> information. If you have received it in error, please notify the sender
> immediately and delete the original. Any other use of the email by you
> is prohibited.w
> >>> "Anne Morse" <AMorse@no.address> 02/20/07 10:18AM >>>
> Doug,
> Could you please post this to greenyes, if you think it helpful in the
> discussion.
> I have not signed up to be able to post, and so the message bounced back.
> thanks,
> Anne
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Anne Morse
> Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 9:13 AM
> To: 'Doug Koplow'; bsteinberg@no.address
> Cc: GreenYes@no.address
> Subject: Financing CFL disposal in Minnesota
> Here's how we finance disposal of household CFL's here in Minnesota:
> The state's largest utility, Xcel Energy, is required by the state to
> spend a significant % of sales on conservation initiatives, termed the
> Conservation Incentive Program, or CIP. Xcel opts to use CIP money to fund
> the disposal of fluorescent bulbs in the state through the counties'
> Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facilities. Here's how it works:
> Residents can bring up to 10 CFLs or regular fluorescent bulbs to our HHW
> facility every year, at any time, at no charge. (Ten is obviously ample to
> cover household-generated bulbs.) When the county disposes of the
> fluorescent bulbs through our recycling contractor, Mercury Waste Solutions,
> Xcel rebates the counties the cost of disposal, and a handling fee to cover
> our time.
> For quantities larger than ten - business quantities - we schedule two
> collection days per year, when the recycling contractor is on location at
> our HHW facility. Businesses bring in their bulbs and are charged the cost
> of disposal by the contractor: $.40 for 4' bulbs, $.45 for CFL's, and $.60
> for 8' bulbs.
> This procedure has been in place for well over ten years, and everyone
> appears to be happy with it. Our HHW facility is open 8 - 4:30 M-F, and
> Saturday mornings in the spring and summer.
> There are some areas of the state that served by other utilities that are
> not as big as Xcel, and thus are not required to expend CIP funds. As a
> result, coverage is not 100%, but it's darn close.
> Anne Morse
> Winona County, MN
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