In my efforts to become more ecology minded, I have forgotten one of the basic recycling dilemmas…lights.  We take light bulbs for granted as we read at night, turn the switch on during dark storms, and flip a button to light our path to the trashcan in the yard. What happens to us when the light goes out? We change the bulb.

If your house is like mine, we have mostly halogen bulbs now. They last longer and seem to put out better light than old fashioned bulbs. However, if you read the fine print, these bulbs contain mercury. Did you know that some states have laws that prohibit discarding these bulbs in your regular trash? (

I was amazed that there are very few places that will take these bulbs for recycling. Often these centers are not available to the general public but are a paid service for lighting and electrical companies to dispose of their bulbs. Florescent bulbs also contain mercury so licensed companies are suppose to dispose of these bulbs the right way? How many do not?

I seem to be creating more questions than answers today. However, the first step in knowing more is to ask questions. I have found bulbs that are LED and are guaranteed not to contain mercury, give off bright light and last for many years. They are over $6 per bulb. (See picture of this Phillips flat LED bulb.) However, they will likely outlive me and light my house for the next owner. I have decided to buy them one bulb at a time as others burn out and look for better alternatives than this twisted halogen bulb that has likely leaked mercury into my drinking water.

Remember when you throw a bulb away like this, it will effect you or your children eventually. Mercury poisons our ground and seeps into the water table. It effects wildlife, plant life, and all human life. Investigate for yourself just what you can do in your area to make little efforts to preserve the ecology through not only recycling, but in educated purchasing. (

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