Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Sierra Club Hypocrisy, Part 1

Sierra Club to distribute light bulbs
Sunday News
Published: Sep 21, 200800:03 EST

Members of the Lancaster Group of the Sierra Club will go door to door in the city's southwest section Sunday, Sept. 28, giving away compact fluorescent light bulbs.

The club expects to hand out about 1,000 energy-saving bulbs, said Ellen Milligan, the group leader.

Each household will be offered one free bulb, according to Milligan, who added that the club will cover Prospect, Fairview, Laurel, Dorwart and Filbert streets, among others.

"We wanted to do something in a different part of downtown" from center city, she said.

The purpose of the event is to spread awareness about compact fluorescents, which use less electricity than conventional incadescent bulbs.

Electric lights typically use power from coal-fired plants, Milligan said, and a compact fluorescent bulb "can save up to 450 pounds of carbon dioxide" over its lifetime. Read More

As the article mentions, mercury is used in these light bulbs. This is the same mercury that has the Sierra Club trying to stop coal fired power plants from being built. If you break one of these bulbs in your house, the recommendation is that you evacuate your house for a period of time before you go in to clean it up. Also, these bulbs will end up in a landfill someday. So can the Sierra Club have it both ways when it comes to mercury?


Anonymous said...

Unlike coal plant emissions, the bulbs CAN be disposed of properly and safely. They also have an undeniable environmental benefit in reducing greenhouse gases by drastically lowering energy needs, and they last for years. Your nastly little column is just wrong.

Troy Hadrick said...

There is great technology that can be used to control emissions from a coal plant. And, we have hundreds of years of supply of coal in our country. These light bulbs can only be disposed of properly if you have a facility nearby to do that (which many people don't). People aren't required to do anything with these bulbs, so most will end up in a landfill. So i still say that the Sierra Club isn't so much worried about mercury, they just need to create a crisis that generates funds.

Here are the EPA guidelines if a bulb gets broken in your home.

Here are U.S. EPA’s guidelines for cleaning up a broken CFL:

Open a window and leave the room (restrict access) for at least 15 minutes. If you have fans, place the fans in the windows and blow the air out of the room. Note: If the room has no windows, open all doors to the room and windows outside the room and use fans to move the air out of the room and to the open windows.
Remove all materials you can without using a vacuum cleaner.
Wear disposable rubber gloves, if available (do not use your bare hands).
Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard.
Wipe the area clean with a damp paper towel or disposable wet wipe.
Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces and powder.
Place all cleanup materials in a plastic bag and seal it, and then place in a second sealed plastic bag.
If no other disposal or recycling options are available, private residents may dispose of the CFL in residential garbage. Be sure to seal the CFL in two plastic bags and put into the outside trash.
Wash your hands after disposing of the bags.
The first time you vacuum the area where the bulb was broken, remove the vacuum bag once done cleaning the area (or empty and wipe the canister) and put the bag and/or vacuum debris, as well as the cleaning materials, in two sealed plastic bags in the outdoor trash or protected outdoor location for normal disposal.