The Citizen Power Alliance is a coalition of independent groups organized to promote sound energy and environmental policy. CPA holds public officials and regulators accountable, while seeking the protection of the public interest.
Eco preservation demands fiscal responsibility and viable technological solutions. Community power requires government transparency and effective industrial regulation. Commerce must balance development and profit with responsible civic stewardship.
The CPA has its home base in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, but is open to organizations nationwide and international in scope.
Direct inquiries to: Citizen Power Alliance, PO Box 657, Naples, NY 14512 (585) 534-5581 Washington, DC (202) 239-1045 New York, NY (347) 688-2720 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you think the mercury in compact fluorescents is a problem, the issue of factories and offices is far greater, with more mercury per bulb and a lot more bulbs- thirty million go to the dump each year in Ontario alone, and improper disposal accounts for 312 kg (687 lbs), enough to contaminate Lake Erie. Now Ontario, Canada has developed what they call the first comprehensive fluorescent tube recycling program in North America. 98% of each lamp is diverted from the dump and the glass, aluminum, phosphorus and mercury are all separated and used in new products.
Compact fluorescents are just a blip on the radar compared to this kind of volume that has been going on every day for years, but as of next year they will be accepted in the program as well.
It's not perfect; we would prefer to see them take residential bulbs now, ending one of the main talking points for the anti-CFL troglodytes, and it requires personal initiative rather than producer responsibility or a deposit on everything. But it is a start.
The Recycling Process
* Lamps move on the conveyor to a negative pressure containment area * Lamps are then broken in the negative pressure machine to allow the capture of glass, aluminum, brass, and phosphor-mercury powder * The phosphor-mercury powder is put into the retort treatment unit where it is heated to separate the mercury from the phosphor powder * The triple distillation process cleans the mercury, thereby making it eligible for reuse * The mercury is collected and allowed to cool to liquid form and then sent to Bethlehem Apparatus in Hellertown, Pennsylvania in one ton containers where it is triple distilled and then resold.