I received an interesting phone call yesterday. It was a phone bank calling on behalf of my power company, offering to send me a free pack of energy-efficient CFL bulbs. Of course, I’m always a fan of free stuff, but I took this opportunity to ask just how I was supposed to dispose of them. Don’t these bulbs contain mercury and require special disposal options? What happens if they break? Are they safe?
Poor lady, I stumped her. She put me on hold in order to talk to her supervisor, only to come back and assure me that the lightbulbs would be packaged with disposal and clean-up instructions. Way to convince me of their safety!
Information on handling and properly disposing of CFL bulbs, whether intact or broken, can easily found with a Google search, but you have be proactive about doing it. From what I’ve seen, there is very little understanding out there, even at retail and hardware stores (including home improvement stores) that sell them.
Why aren’t manufacturers of wholesale led lighting doing more to train the front lines on safety and disposal instructions? Sure, there is plenty of information on energy savings, but there is more to the consumer purchase decision than kilowatt savings. (Yes, even in this economic environment.) The word “mercury” still strikes fear in the heart of the adult population.
To offer free CFL bulbs and not train the phone operators on basic disposal and safety instructions baffles me. Clearly, the manufacturer wasn’t expecting the question. Or simply didn’t put enough thought into it. Yet isn’t that one of the most basic questions people ask?
I know I did.