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[GreenYes] Ban the Bulb -- But don't create a new toxic problem, say local governments

I've read that in the past there has been a performance penalty (in terms of lumens and I think longevity as well) from reduced mercury bulbs. Anybody know what the case is with the Walmart effort? Obviously if a bulb has half the mercury but also lasts half as long we're not really coming out ahead.

-Doug Koplow

Doug Koplow
Earth Track, Inc.
2067 Massachusetts Avenue - 4th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02140
Tel: 617/661-4700
Fax: 617/354-0463

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>>> <daklute@no.address> 5/10/2007 12:16 PM >>>
Looks like the industry is moving up the hierarchy and actually reducing Hg content rather than focusing on collection systems.

On 5/9/07, Bill Sheehan <bill@no.address> wrote:

MEDIA RELEASE - May 8, 2007

Local Government Groups Call for Manufacturers to Recycle Toxic Mercury
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Three local government product stewardship organizations from the U.S. and
Canada today praised retailers and consumers for promoting the switch to
energy efficient light bulbs, but said manufacturers must take the next step
of creating and financing convenient, environmentally safe recycling systems
for toxic mercury-containing compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs
<> ).

The California Product <>
Stewardship Council, the Northwest < >
Product Stewardship Council and the British Columbia
<> Product Stewardship
Council issued a joint statement
f> today, coordinated by the Product
<> Policy Institute. The statement
calls for manufacturers to take financial responsibility for and provide
collection programs for fluorescent lights, since the toxins they contain
are banned from disposal in many states.

The product stewardship councils are coalitions of primarily local
governments working together to promote product
< ( )> stewardship, the
concept that whoever designs, produces, sells, or uses a product takes
responsibility for minimizing the product's environmental impact throughout
all stages of the products' life cycle. The Product Policy Institute is a
North American non-profit organization that researches and promotes policies
that reduce public costs and promote environmental sustainability.

These groups are working together to require that manufacturers take
responsibility for minimizing the environmental impact of CFLs from design
to disposal. Local governments and tax payers currently shoulder the
financial burden of the disposal of these products, as well as the potential
for future environmental liability. The groups today are calling for
manufacturers to finance "cradle-to-cradle" management of the products they
create in order to promote environmental sustainability. "Cradle-to-cradle"
refers to designing and managing products for continuous reuse or recycling,
rather than for disposal as waste in "graves."

The groups also applauded pending California legislation that would increase
the development and use of energy efficient lighting, reduce the toxicity of
the bulbs, and require manufacturers to provide take-back recycling
services. They called the legislation a model for all states, and the next
step in environmental protections.

The bill, AB 1109 < > ,
requires manufacturers to have a system in place for collecting and
recycling end-of-life bulbs that contain hazardous materials, such as lead
and mercury. Manufacturers would be required to submit a plan to the State
on how they will provide an environmentally responsible disposal and
take-back program throughout California by July 1, 2009. The measure is
sponsored by California Assembly Member Jared Huffman, chair of the Assembly
Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials.

"The companies that make money by selling toxic products need to be part of
the solution. Local governments do not have the resources or capacity to
manage toxic products, nor should they," said Carol Misseldine, Director of
the California Product Stewardship Council. "Assembly Member Huffman's
approach will result in safer, more efficient lighting while providing a
convenient manufacturer-provided collection system, and should be a national

Representatives of the Product Policy Institute and the three councils
called for all forthcoming state and national legislation that requires an
increase in the use of energy efficient lighting to also include the same
take-back provisions outlined in AB 1109.

"This approach allows us to aggressively move forward with more energy
efficient lighting technology, reduce toxicity of that lighting, and have a
collection system for spent bulbs without burdening already strapped local
governments and taxpayers with costs of collection," said Sego Jackson of
the Northwest Product Stewardship Council.

"In British Columbia, we have take-back programs for beverage containers,
medicines, used oil, paint, pesticides, solvents, and soon, electronics,
which are financed by industry and manufacturers. Lighting manufacturers are
equally as capable of establishing a similarly successful take-back
program," said Raymond Gaudart, Co-chair of the British Columbia Product
Stewardship Council.

Joint Statement is at

CFL Page: For additional details regarding mercury-containing compact
fluorescent lights, visit

Bill Sheehan
Executive Director
Product Policy Institute
P.O. Box 48433
Athens, GA 30604 USA
Tel: +1-706-613-0710
Email: bill@no.address ( mailto:bill@no.address )
Web: ( ) <>


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