Day 147: Bright Ideas

bulbSo, we aren’t buying stuff, and that includes household goods.  Like light bulbs for instance.

Did we stock up?  No.

Are we going to give in and buy some? No.

Is it silly to not buy these modern essentials and then make up for it later by buying a bunch of them to replace the ones that died during the year?  Probably.

First off, I thought it wouldn’t be a problem because these new energy efficient light bulbs are supposed to last 7 years or so.  Figuring we’ve only lived here for 5, I calculate that we have about two more years worth of bulb left in those guys.  I say this in jest of course because I can tell you that more than one of my $7 energy efficient bulbs have died before their time.

Luckily, only one bulb has kicked the bucket since we started the project, and I happened to have a spare laying around.  If another one goes down the plan is to shuffle the bulbs around, prioritizing the ones that really matter.  Goodbye downstairs bathroom (that’s the one Grant uses).

What sparked this was the fact that I’ve had that dead bulb sitting on my bedside table for months now.  I keep meaning to take it to the local hardware store to get recycled, but we never go to the hardware store anymore because we can’t buy anything.

It turns out that recycling your bulbs is pretty important.  According to, improperly discarded CFL (energy efficient) light bulbs release 30,000 pounds of mercury into the environment each year.  To put that in perspective, one teaspoon of mercury can contaminate a 20 acre lake forever. That alone is reason enough to make sure they’re properly disposed of.  In North America, you can take your bulbs to Home Depot or Ikea.

So, apart from going back to candle light, I’m not sure what we can do about light bulbs and the waste they create.  For now, we just try to choose bulbs that come in cardboard packaging and are long-lasting and energy-efficient.  And of course, we make sure we recycle them properly when they do conk out.  Any other ideas?



Filed under Around the house, recycling

3 responses to “Day 147: Bright Ideas

  1. I MUCH prefer candlelight anyway. But for future interest, LEDs are even more energy efficient and last 10 times longer than CFLs. They are more expensive, but the impact on the environment is less, so they get my vote. The whole mercury thing concerns me because I know a lot of them will end up in the landfill.

    What about wind up torches? Dd does not have a lightbulb in her room, she uses torches instead 🙂 You can get so many now – shakable, wind up or solar…….

  2. do you allow yourself to buy candles, then?

  3. Jen CleanBin

    Well, we haven’t got to the candles stage. I would say ‘no candles’ for now, unless they became a necessity (ie we ran out of light bulbs and needed candles for basic light). Most people these days just use candles for ambience. On the other hand, we have about 100 tea lights in the closet from years gone by, so I think we’re set for candles.

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