Sunday, November 11, 2007

You Make The Call

What's not to like? Yes, CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Bulbs) are "green". And who can argue over saving $148 in energy over the life of these bulbs? And it was a 25% more-for-your-money pack which is even better! Plus I won't have to change the bulb for 8 years. I like saving money, I like saving the environment, no argument here about global warming, and I have better things to do with my life than do laundry in the dark because the bulb burned out again (Confession: my parents never successfully taught me to turn out the light when I leave the room).

But, seriously, check out that packaging! Nothing "green" about it. Looks to me like someone could have
  • put another four bulbs in the space provided
  • or found an packaging material that would biodegrade instead of outliving the cockroach.

Opening the pack is completely impossible. I used a very sharp knife to carefully cut away enough of the bubble to gently life the bulb out. I'm not looking forward to getting the others out.

Regular incandescents nest together in those cute little packs and are sooooo easy to store. My cabinet door is currently ajar because this package is too big to fit in the space allotted. Heaven forbid that they eliminate the photo of the well-lit sofa to trim the package size to something more manageable. (I, for one, have always strictly limited my lightbulb choices to ones that would make my sofa look cozy.)

I see in today's news that our lawmakers are considering banning incandescent bulbs permanently by 2012. Hey, help me with something that really would improve my life. How about banning cars with gas mileage less than 40 mpg? Or find just one government accountant that can prove a link between $3/gas and an oil company's highest ever profit. Not only that but perhaps they need to look at the Pandora's box before they open it--CFLs contain mercury and have to be disposed of carefully. (Don't ask me how, I still need to find out myself.) It's minor that CFLs only look good in lamps where you can't see the bulb. They look especially hideous in bathrooms with downfacing fixtures that mirror the bulb so you can feast on twice the ugliness. That's why folks are installing their fixtures upside down. Like me, they'd rather light their ceiling rather than their face if it means looking at an exposed ugly bulb.

I've used these CFLs for a few years now, mostly in places where I burn bulbs out quickly. But they are touchy. One nearly burned down our garage a year ago. Seriously. It melted the ceramic base and spread a lovely ozone odor. It took time to locate the source of the problem and of course we had the bulb on the whole time so we could see. Turns out, you have to grip the base to screw them in, not the spiral top. Otherwise you could weaken the bulb. And the UL label means nothing--you want them to be Energy Star approved.

I'll learn to handle them with kid gloves. I'll figure out how to properly dispose of them and their mercury (more than likely without the help of our garbage company hasn't been helpful with computer disposal to avoid heavy metal contamination).

Can they just package them better?

1 comment:

  1. I understand completely what you mean about the CFLs. I'm torn on their "environmental" benefits and they're being pushed so hard...

    And packaging! It drives me insane!