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Compact Fluorescent Lamps Save Energy

Flipping a light switch could now help save the environment and save you money.

KSMU's Christy Hendricks reports on a kind of environmentally friendly light bulb that has many flocking to stores.

The next time you flip a light switch you may want to think about how much energy that incandescent light bulb uses.

Compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs have been touted as money-saving, environmental friendly bulbs that will replace incandescent lights.

Jeff Brown is the environmental management coordinator for Missouri State University.

He says CFLs are miniature versions of fluorescent lights.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, CFLs use two-thirds less energy, last up to 10 times longer and produce 70-percent less heat than standard incandescents.

CFLs can cost eight times as much as incandescent lights, but Brown says the benefits outweigh the cost.

Barbara Lucks is the materials recovery education coordinator for the city of Springfield.

She says even though CFLs boast economic and environmental benefits, they do pose some health risks.

CFLs contain mercury which can be emitted into the air if the bulb is broken.

Mercury has been linked with autism in children.

Lucks says CFLs should not be disposed of through household garbage.

The household chemical collection center in Springfield accepts fluorescent lights from Springfield and Greene County residents free of charge.

Residents in Webster, Christian, Dallas and Polk counties can drop off household hazardous waste two times a year.

Jeff Brown says CFLs should be recycled so the mercury won't escape into the environment.

But if CFLs are disposed of properly, Barbara Lucks says the impact these "green" bulbs can have on the environment could be big.

For more information about disposing CFLs call 864-2000.