There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick-click links helpful:
Last week was an interesting week. I read a lot about the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, green (and pink) washing and how domestic violence is being decriminalized in Topeka, Kansas. As I read, one thing became quite evident ... there are a lot of people who blindly accept what they are told without having the facts necessary to make informed decisions. The participants of our challenges, however, can never be accused of blind acceptance. Case in point ... last week's challenge. CFLs and LEDs, on the surface, seem to be wonderful energy-saving options. But as we'll find out, some folks dug a little deeper and have serious reservations about their use. And that is the beauty of these challenges ... we have the opportunity to investigate an idea and share information.
The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing a post about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Let's see what they had to say this week:
EcoGrrl has been using CFLs for a long time. She plans to transition to LEDs as her bulbs burn out but ... that may take awhile ... her bulbs are lasting for at least 8 years. Wow! She shares that CFLs now come in all sizes and colors, including the "warm" colors that most people missed from incandescent bulbs. EcoGrrl also reminds us that CFLs can be recycled at both Home Depot and Lowes. Nice!
When we first ran this challenge in 2009, Argentum Vulgaris wasn't making the switch ... for some valid reasons. But recently, he started giving them a second thought (read about that HERE). Then he started checking them out ... which lead to this POST which discusses government bans on incandescent bulbs, mercury, corporate manipulation, UV radiation and the lack of appropriate CFL recycling. Conclusion: He's still not making the switch. Be sure to check out his post ... he references other sites which discuss the issue.
Amy (aka NonMom) says that she replaces incandescent bulbs only when they burn out because she doesn't want to waste a working bulb. That's a great point, Amy!
I'd like to welcome Kris back to "the fold". Nice to "see" you again, Kris! She feels the same as Amy and talks about it HERE. She wonders if there is a good, environmental reason to replace a working bulb. So folks ... what do you think?
Joanne shared her thoughts about this challenge on twitter: 1) We made the switch to CFL bulbs long ago but also use LED where possible. Initial investment for LED is high but its our preference.
The Accessory Lady has been using CFLs in her home for the past 7 years and says that her favorite feature is that they last forever. She's wondering how the people who use LEDs like them. Check out Harold's post (below), AL ... he's currently using LEDs. AL also asked about recycling CFLs ... that's a great question AL. As EcoGrrl shared, both Home Depot and Lowes have bins set up for recycling. IKEA, ACE Hardware and True Value Hardware may also recycle them. One can also check Earth 911 or Earth 911 International for recycling options.
Cinella has switched out most of her bulbs for CFLs but has a unique problem in making them last. She's done some investigation and found the reason. The answer surprised me. Curious? Check out her article HERE.
We have a new participant this week. Welcome to Katie!! Katie is a kindred spirit ... she hosts a series called Green Motivation Monday ... a weekly, green challenge. WhooHoo! So if you want to really push yourself each week, participate both here and at Katie's place. Katie commented on our previous challenge about Halloween saying that she tries to avoid plastic. In fact, she's going to avoid it for Christmas as well ... she's gathering pine cones, etc. to make her own wreath. Nice!
Harold replaces incandescent bulbs as they burn out but he's concerned about the mercury in CFLs. He offers his opinions in this POST, including his thoughts on the LED bulbs which he's currently using. Thanks, Harold!
Alicia has been using CFLs for awhile. She's been doing some research on LEDs and plans to make the switch when they have improved the brightness of these bulbs. By the way ... have you heard Alicia's news? Click HERE to read all about it. And may I say, Alicia ... CONGRATULATIONS! That is quite an accomplishment!! Well done, my friend!!
Sarah uses CFLs exclusively in her room but she didn't know that the bulbs can be recycled. Yes indeedy, Sarah!! By the way ... nice to see you again ... we've missed you! For those who haven't checked out Sarah's blog ... head on over ... it's filled with interesting information including a recent post entitled "Lazy Green" where she maintains that the easiest way to live green is to simply be lazy (it's a wonderful post). Thanks, Sarah!
In this POST you'll find out why Mrs. Green thinks that CFLs should be banned. Here's a hint: they contain a component with is a contaminant for life. Read that statement again ... a contaminant for LIFE. Wow! She discusses her bulb of choice and shares that there is one bulb which her husband can actually make. Wow!
Ann stopped in and joined our challenge. In her Blog Action Day 2011 post (HERE) she includes a link to CTWW.
In this POST, Amity meets two challenges ... the Halloween activity and our light bulb challenge. She offers a ton of great ideas for a green Halloween and one of her ideas uses LED bulbs. Fabulous, Amity!
Many folks are concerned with the mercury in CFLs and the possibility of the bulb breaking. But do you know what to do in that event ... and is it really the catastrophe that we fear? Stephanie (aka Good Girl Gone Green) did some research and has the answer for us (read it HERE). Fabulous, Stephanie!!
Rachel has been using energy-efficient light bulbs for a long time and has only had one bulb burn out in the past 10 years. Wow! She's been planning to replace the halogen bulb in her kitchen with LEDs and, just as though her kitchen knew about our challenge, the bulb blew out this week so Rachel's husband ordered four LEDs online. Once they arrive let us know how you like them Rachel.
Brenna doesn't have any incandescent bulbs in her house and hopes to switch her CFLs to LEDs. All of her Christmas lights are LEDs and she shares that LEDs, in general, have improved a lot over the years.
The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:
My final thoughts: There are so many considerations in choosing the right light bulb. CFLs save more energy than incandescent bulbs but they do contain a small amount of mercury. LEDs don't contain mercury but may contain lead and/or arsenic (read about that HERE) and they tend to be cost prohibitive. Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) don't contain contaminants but they are extremely expensive to manufacture, their life span is relatively short, they are sensitive due to the organic membrane and can be broken easily, and the light they emit isn't yet efficient. So what's the right answer? In my opinion, living green is often a matter of balance and doing the best we can. In order to do that, we must become educated consumers ... we must learn everything we can about the issue and then make the best choice possible. For me that means using CFLs instead of incandescent bulbs with the goal of replacing those with LEDs as they become more affordable. It's not perfect but it's a start.
Great job, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted and Facebooked it. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.
This Week's Challenge:
This week's challenge comes from Jennifer. I think it's going to be a fun challenge! Here you go:
This week, find one way to lower the environmental impact of your pet.
If you don't have a pet, suggest ways that we can protect wild animals.
If you don't have a pet, suggest ways that we can protect wild animals.
I can't wait to read your ideas on this one!!
Ready for our mantra? All together now ...
WE'RE CHANGING THE WORLD ... ONE CHALLENGE AT A TIME!