Coady going to Washington to discuss bulb recycling

By Curtis Riggs | August 27, 2008

Anticipated glut of Chinese CFLs at issue
CAREFREE – Town Councilman Bob Coady will be headed to Washington, D.C. next month to discuss Carefree’s florescent bulb recycling program with a Texas congressman who is concerned about the importation of CFL bulbs from China.

bobcoadyCoady will meet with Congressman Ted Poe from Texas’ Second District on Sept. 11 to talk about the program he has had in place for four years.

Poe is concerned about the lack of an overall plan to properly dispose of the 600 million CFL bulbs that will be imported from China in coming years. Adding to Poe’s concern about recycling the CFLs is the Chinese bulbs do not last nearly as long as the current brand name CFL bulbs and the scheduled ban of normal incandescent light bulbs in the U.S. by 2012.
“I have been asked to talk about Carefree’s involvement in starting a grassroots program to address mercury pollution and the protection of the environment,” Coady said.

Carefree’s bulb recycling program began four years ago when a machine that properly disposes of tube florescent lights was purchased. Late last year a new machine was obtained to properly recycle the new CFL bulbs, which use less energy and last much longer than regular light bulbs. Coady estimates 5,000 florescent bulbs have been properly disposed of through the Carefree recycling program in that time.

If florescent and CFL bulbs are not properly disposed of, they can cause mercury poisoning of soil and water tables. One florescent or CFL bulb can contaminate 33,000 liters of water.
Coady credits Dave Karsten’s Ace Hardware store in Carefree for helping to make the program such a success. People can drop off their CFL and tube florescent bulbs there seven days a week for later recycling. Coady said many people also bring the bulbs in on regular recycling days in Carefree. He estimates 100 bulbs a week are recycled properly because of Carefree’s efforts.

“The number of bulbs we have taken in is significant,” Coady said.

Coady was asked to meet with Poe because of his relationship with the president of Community Environment Alliance Ed Domanico, maker of the two bulb machines Carefree owns.

When talking about the glut of new Chinese CFLs coming into the U.S. in the next several years, Coady said 600 million new bulbs could end up in landfills nationwide in the next five to 10 years if programs are not implemented to dispose of them properly.

Courtesy photo