CFL Lightbulbs Explained

green cup with Pentax DA 35mm f/2.8 1:1 macro limited and Pentax K20DI want to follow up on my green efforts in finding practical ways in home remedies with easy to do efforts in making my home energy efficient. In the documentary movie of Inconvenient Truth, I learned about Carbon Dioxide emission and that Coal burning is involved in 50% of the electric power generation in the United States. That alone is a huge cause of carbon dioxide emission from US alone as a responsible country with higher goals to conserve energy and preserve our environment. How can we all chip in to help? In conserving with less electricity usage, not only can we save on our monthly electric bills, we are directly helping to preserve our environment in burning less coal.

As mentioned before in my Going Green in Blogging efforts, one of my set simple goals is to study all energy saving light bulbs available for my family. And I find this wonderful clip that explain plainly in English what Compact Fluorescent CFL Lightbulbs are all about. Most of the material are known and well presented in a easy to remember and understand manner. I would research into the dangerous component that exists in small amount of mercury in those CFL light-bulbs and learn ways to recycle them properly. This clip is well worth seeing with your family

Update on CFL recycling

As we learned form reading up discussions on CFL, the biggest complaint is right on the recycling need due to the presence of mercury. How much mercury is present in each light bulb? I can't honestly tell but from my casual reading, it should be a concern if one ever get the CFL ligh-bulb broken. Here are few tips that I gathered from the web
  • Ikea is one of the stores that provides recycling of CFL light bulbs. It is renowned as one of the green companies that advocate energy saving with their CFL light bulbs products.
  • In the recycling companies like BFI or Allied Waste Management, I am sure the monthly bill has the contact number for one to inquire about the recycling of CFL light-bulbs
  • I will ask the following CFL carrying stores that I think are quite responsible companies selling CFL, I will check and report back -- Walmart, Lowes, Orchard Supply and Homes Depot.
  • In the event that a CFL light bulb is broken. First thing to teach our kids is to stay away from touching the broken glass along with these tips:
    • Open up nearby windows to improve air ventilation and avoid physical contact
    • Use glove and paper towel and a little brush to sweep away the broken glass. Be aware of open wound and avoid contact from broken glass. Wrap in sturdy paper bag and store in container that is ready for safe delivery to recycled place

Green Bokeh
Natural Lighting -- Zero cost

Blue Lights
likely CFL light-bulbs
Foundry Network

Exclamation! Cafe in Yahoo!
with CFL
product shot with pentax da 35mm f/2.8 1:1 macro limited and pentax k20dPicture taken with Pentax DA 35mm limited

Incandescent Light Fixture
I love the lighting but I hope
the Japanese restaurant owner can replace with CFL



Unknown said...

awesome light lamp. I like it so much. Pictures are too cool. It is looking so romantic dude! Thank you very much for sharing such a nice photos with us.

Unknown said...

Hin, it is not that simple. First let me explain that I am concerned about the environment and I am parsimonious - I am always careful with my money (why else do you think I am a Pentax photographer!)

The mercury in CFL and fluorescent strips are a big issue. You could argue that if all CFLs are recycled then the mercury can be handled by experts. But unfortunately this does not happen. Does tyour regular trash collection have a separate collection for CFL? Mine doesn't. The recycled materials collector won't either. I have to go myself to the recycle centre which is soemthing I don't want to have to do for one bulb. So I save them and go once a year, but will most people do that? No. There was a similar problem a decade ago about NiCd rechargeable batteries, people just put them in the trash and it was discovered that when landfill sites were reclaimed Cd leached from the batteries and poisoned the reclaimed ground. The same will happebn with mercury from CFLs thrown in the trash.

CFLs are just fluorescent bulbs. They work in the same way as fluorescent strips but are smaller. Some people are sensitive to the frequencies that CFLs work at and hence they cannot have the bulbs in their houses. There are also issues about dimmer switches (there are some CFL solutionjs for this) and their operation in low temperatures. Also over time CFLs get dimmer and they take longer to start up. So the effective lifetime is not the 13 incandescent bulbs given in the video because you are likely to replace a CFL when its start up becomes intolerable rather than when it stops working completely.

However, there is good news. Coming on the market now are LED bulbs and OLEDs are following. These do not have the negative points of CFLs, they do not contain mercury and they do not have the flicker that fluorescent strips have. In the meantime another alternative is halogen incandescent bulbs. These do not have the downsides of CFL and they are also low energy.

You are right to look at ways to save energy, but you need to look at all the issues involved, and for me halogen incandescent are the short term solution and LED lightbulbs are the future.

street_vision said...

Hi Hin,
While I do not buy into the whole global warming thing at all, I do believe that we as humans are responsible for taking care of the environment around us..For example, since I enjoy hiking, I have taught my kids to always take back what they brought and ''more''..Littering is not acceptable under any conditions..But we can agree to disagree on the whole global warming thing...

As for the photography, I have been privileged to have seen some of these images before and remain impressed...Your images that feature this awesome bokeh are among some of the best in the WWW...well done my friend!

Yael DeFaye said...

Hi hin,

thanks for the info, CFL aren't the best solution yet but there is nothing. thank you for putting some green in our mind! My wife does that pretty well too!!!
anyway on one of my blog, I posted a something about a new light system that should come out next year where it should be better than CFL and LED. Of course, all of that comes from the manufacturer. check it out here:

Thanks for your hard hard Hin!

Hin Man said...

@william, thanks for the visit. Pentax gear and my lens always has a pop in pictures with great bokeh.

@Richard, much thanks for all the inputs and valuable information. Though I have this as a late reply to you, you have no idea how happy I was when I see your reply. It is just work and blogging and with family needs, I am trying to catch up with my study on green technology. I still think CFL is a viable alternative as long as I have a planned storage of dead bulbs for recycling. I have found a sturdy plastic container which I will dedicate for CFL/batteries/others for temporary storage in garage before I drive to Fremont recycling facility.

@street_vision, I will study and be open minded in my research into global climate change or global warming. This article is NOT all about the cause and effects in global warming although it relates to it indirectly. It is more on energy saving and helping the environment indirectly.

@Yael, thanks again for your support. It means a hell lot when my Pentax buddies are behind my newbie efforts in studying green technology as well as learning to love and care our environment on a daily basis

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Welcome to Hin's Photo Corner, this is my learning blog on photography, blogging and advertising. And I hope you enjoy your visit. For contact, please comment in blog post or email me directly hintheman at


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