March, 2016

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Proper Disposal of CFLs

Old compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury vapor, which can be harmful if released. It can end up seeping into the water table. Instead of just throwing them away, which can break the bulb, releasing the mercury, they should be disposed of properly to prevent contamination.

There are certain states and local jurisdictions who regulate the recycling of CFLs. Local waste collection agencies usually are aware of this information and collect these materials for recycling. Most of the time it is a free service, but some agencies might charge a small fee. Also, they may only collect household hazardous waste a couple times a year, so households will need to keep their waste until the scheduled times.

Some hardware stores will offer in-store recycling as well. However, not every store offers this service, so it’s best to call ahead and check before heading there with hazardous waste.

There are also pre-labeled recycling kits that are provided by certain lightbulb manufacturers and other organizations. They give households the ability to mail the old lightbulbs to recycling centers. This is a great option for those in areas where their waste collection agency doesn’t take lightbulbs.

Before tossing old CFLs in the trash, check with local regulations and the waste collection agency for recycling options.

Solar Device Chargers

Worried about charging devices when away from an electrical outlet? Or wanting to lessen electrical usage while still charging laptops, cameras, phones and more? Invest in a solar charger. They have solar panels that convert energy from direct sunlight.

If the solar charger is just for small devices, it is best to choose one with an internal battery. The energy gets stored on the device, which means it can be used to charge devices even if it is cloudy. However, the internal battery might need replaced after a couple of years.

For those outdoor adventurers who spend a lot of time in the sun, there is a solar charger that plugs directly into a device. This type of solar charger is more reliable than the one with the internal battery, but only works when there is sunlight to draw energy from.

These lightweight, portable solar charging devices are great for outdoor adventure. Many people like to document their camping and hiking adventures with a camera or phone camera. It could be a problem if they get outside and realize their battery has died. That’s where these chargers come in handy.

Or homeowners who are looking to cut down on their energy use, for financial and environmental reasons, could use these to charge their electronics instead of plugging them into the wall socket. Especially during summer when energy consumption skyrockets from air conditioner use, this could be a good way to use a little less electricity.