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Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:40 pm
Location: US

I had been asking about how to dispose of the fluorescent light bulbs properly. I'm obviously concerned about the mercury in them. Found this which is very interesting, it's a short video on You Tube-

I had no idea disposal of these lightbulbs was such a problem. I think if this is the route we're going to go, maybe our cities should provide a way for us to get rid of these things safely. Some sort of a specialized collection where we put them out at the curb separate from our regular garbage and recyclables or some sort of a center where we can go to drop them off so that others can dispose of them properly?

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Posts: 220
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2008 12:55 am
Location: Three Rivers, TX

You can now take your CFLs to any [url=]Home Depot[/url] for recycling.

Or if you bought them from [url=]Ikea[/url] you can return them there for recycling.

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Posts: 1416
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:40 pm
Location: US

Oh, didn't know that. We've got a Home Depot that is close and we go that direction about once a month. Thanks for mentioning that. Good to know.

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Posts: 310
Joined: Thu May 15, 2008 2:25 pm
Location: NW Georgia

I'm a bit late to the party, but let's see. A list of what I do to reduce carbon footprint.

1. I work primarily from home. This is probably my biggest single helpful thing, and the environmental impact was part of what we considered in making the change.

2. When not working from home, I teach "hybrid" classes at the local technical college. These are part online, part face-to-face and I think they go a long way toward helping the less technologically-inclined students become comfortable with the technology. Many use a hybrid class as a learning stage and then transition to full online for the rest of their coursework. This helps get not just me, but many people off the road. This quarter, I will make a total of five trips to campus (well, six, since admin insists we turn in final grades in hard copy -- working on that!)

3. Normally, I drive a 1989 Honda Civic in which I get 41 miles to the gallon. ATM the Honda is in need of a head gasket, so I'm driving (gasp) the SUV. But this SUV is a 1986 Isuzu Trooper diesel, and it gets 28 mpg. It's not biodiesel yet, but my husband is designing his chemistry curriculum around biodiesel technology next year, so it will likely be the test vehicle. If it works, his "brute force truck" will be next, as it's also diesel, and perhaps the tractor as well (perhaps converted, it's definitely diesel).

4. We air condition only one room, with a high-efficiency window unit, and only when things get really unbearable (which tends to be about 84-85 degrees in the house). We keep it from getting that hot most days with the following strategies: We open up at night and close again when it starts warming up in the daytime, and we use box fans to circulate air as needed. The house is brick, high ceilings, ceiling fans, laid out so very little sun hits the windows of the living/dining where we cool. I kept up the insulated curtains I made this winter and pull those when the sun starts hitting windows throughout the house. The house is also heavily shaded by trees all around. I avoid cooking during daylight hours if I can help it. I have a countertop convection oven on the carport and use that rather than the oven to keep the heat down. I run the dishwasher at night.

5. I combine errands. I limit myself to two trips to town per week and do everything then. I made myself a spreadsheet and calculated the cost per trip, which really helped me make that happen. Lately, it hasn't taken two trips.

6. I reuse everything I can. I think about packaging when I buy. I don't print documents unless there's no other choice (really annoyed that I'll be printing multiple copies of a four-page syllabus tommorrow). I do bring groceries home in plastic bags, usually, but I use those (repeatedly) and recycle extras.

7. I recycle steel cans, #1 and #2 plastic, paper, and cardboard by taking recyclables to the transfer station here (except steel, which doesn't recycle locally, but which one of the custodians at my husband's school takes to a neighboring town to sell as scrap). Would recycle aluminum, but we don't use it -- it's cheaper and uses less packaging to buy 2-liter drinks, though we also drink a lot of water, Kool-aid, and sorrel tea. I compost organics. This means we produce a bag of trash every couple of weeks.

8. We produce as much of our own food as possible, bringing in as little outside material as we can to do so. We fertilize with manure from the barn here, and will with compost when we have it. We gather and preserve what grows wild around here (and that's quite a bit). I buy mostly flour, sugar, dog and cat food, condiments, and dairy products, and I'm working on the flour -- trying to develop local sources, though I need a grain mill. We're eating a lot less meat, mostly by accident, but it does mean that fewer resources have gone into the production of our food. We intend to raise goats for the dairy food next year. We wanted guineas this year (eggs, meat, flea and tick control), but the farm supply got them in and sold them all between my trips to town, so I'm looking again for a local source.

9. We have all compact flourescent bulbs, which is likely going to mean a major trip to dispose of them properly one of these days, but we will be disposing properly. We may well store old ones until we have several to take or until we're going near a Home Depot for some other reason (have to drive to the city for that!)

10. We don't have television. Reduces both power use and temptation. One of the things I miss the least.

11. We made sure to tell the power company we did not want the "booger light" on the property here turned on -- those things are on all the time. Instead, we can see the stars (we can see the outline of the Milky Way), and the plants grow properly because they know when it's night and when it's day. We aren't adding to light pollution and we're using less power.

Doing something good where it's really needed, using less and living lightly on the Earth -- all these things were tied together for my husband and I in our decision to move here a year ago. We're not completely off grid, and that's not likely to happen soon, but we'd like to get there someday. Meanwhile, we've completely changed our lifestyle (and each change makes the next that much easier) and we've never been healthier or happier.

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