Question by Jerome R: Harmful eco-friendly products?
Does anyone know besides fluorescent bulbs that they say is eco-friendly because it cuts down on energy bill but at the same time is made of harmful chemical like mercury?
Answer by Eric
Your question is a bit flawed; coal power plants in the US put over 9 billion times more mercury into the environment than a CFL bulb does. (I didn’t make that up; 50 tons from coal, 5mg in a CFL, do the math).
“How do CFLs result in less mercury in the environment compared to traditional light bulbs?
Electricity use is the main source of mercury emissions in the U.S. CFLs use less electricity than incandescent lights, meaning CFLs reduce the amount of mercury into the environment. As shown in the table below, a 13-watt, 8,000-rated-hour-life CFL (60-watt equivalent; a common light bulb type) will save 376 kWh over its lifetime, thus avoiding 4.5 mg of mercury. If the bulb goes to a landfill, overall emissions savings would drop a little, to 4.0 mg. EPA recommends that CFLs are recycled where possible, to maximize mercury savings.”
Anyway, nothing comes for free. Rechargeable batteries reduce waste, but contain potentially harmful substances. Wind turbines produce carbon-free power, but can interfere with wildlife. “Biodegradable” plastic bags may end up just spreading tiny bits of plastic throughout the environment…
In the end, the greenest product is the one you don’t buy.
What do you think? Answer below!
Tags:Ecofriendly, friendly, harmful, Products