Recycling Compact Fluorescent Bulbs – Part II

May 5th, 2007

Last week I reported that “I emailed the environment department in my region (Waterloo) last week, but they haven’t got back to me.” Nice representation, I concluded.

That was Monday, on Thursday I received a reply. First, here’s the original e-mail:

I am wondering, now that both provincial and federal governments are
legislating compact fluorescent bulbs, if the region of Waterloo recycles
them? If so, how does one go about doing so? If not, are there plans to do
so, and who will pick up the cost (as this is a downloaded service)?

Thank you very much

Brian Gardiner

This apparantly got passed on within the department, “As per our conversation this morning, please find the e-mail below.” I then received the following reply:

Hello Mr. Gardiner:

At this time, you are able to recycle your compact fluorescent bulbs at the
Waterloo landfill site, Monday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Cambridge landfill accepts them on certain Household Hazardous Waste
days, and you can find all the information in the front green section of
your telephone book.

When the full transition takes place, there may be some changes as to where
residents drop off the bulbs (at particular retail outlets, perhaps) but
this has not been established as yet.

First off, thanks to Sue the Manager Waste Collection & Diversion for the Region of Waterloo, who replied. Also thanks to Pamela, Council/Committee Support Specialist, Council and Administrative Services who passed this message along to Sue.

Now about the reply. As I suspected, the Region will recycle your compact fluorescent bulbs (CFBs), at a cost of 30c a piece: what will that cost when everybody is using exclusively CFBs in their homes and businesses? I conservatively estimate $150,000/year here in Waterloo Region. But note also, you now have to drive your light bulb to the landfill every time it burns out. How is that environmentally friendly? The other option, of course, is to throw it in the garbage, but that’s a lot of mercury in the landfills. Sooner or later the regions will a) ban throwing them out and b) have to find a better way of disposing of them. But again, at what cost? Can our already crying poor municipalities really handle the extra expense?

The mandatory conversion to CFBs is going to be a travesty, and in ten years we will be calling them an environmental menace, just as once environmentally friendly plastic grocery bags are now seen as a menace.

Global Warming, Going... Going... Gone Nuts For The Environment, pimply minions of bureaucracy

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