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.
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>>> "Anne Morse" <AMorse@no.address
02/20/07 10:18AM >>>
Could you please post this to greenyes, if you think it helpful in the
I have not signed up to be able to post, and so the message bounced
From: Anne Morse
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2007 9:13 AM
To: 'Doug Koplow'; email@example.com
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
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.
Winona County, MN
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