Friday 9 March 2007

Old Inefficient Lightbulbs

This is a conversation I had in a forum on My Space. When I'm really bored, I sometimes talk to random Americans who are wondering things like which brand of dishwasher detergent is most eco-friendly and what they can buy to be more "green". Sometimes it gets interesting though, and I thought I'd share this one:

David, Maryland
I have a moral dilemma. These lightbulbs have been in my closet for the past 3 years. They are 75watt bulbs... about 10 of them. Five years ago I spent like $150 outfitting the whole house with new energy efficient bulbs (when they were quite more expensive), which only use 15watts each. What do I do with these old bulbs?! They are perfectly good, but I know I will never in my right mind put them to use.

Vinny, Wisconsin
give them to somebody who will use them.

David, Maryland
I have already thought of that. My problem with that is it defeats the purpose of reducing energy consumption. I feel that it would be like selling my perfectly good gas car to someone, then buying a hybrid car. I am merely passing on the inefficiency to another person. I want it to end with me... I don't want to pass it on. Hmm.... maybe I can bust the glass off from the metal part and put them in their resepctive recycle bins? LIGHT BULB!! I knew it was in me. Thank you for helping me through this thought process... LOL.
Wait a minute... does the recycling process take up more energy than the life of these bulbs? Jeeze... these light bulbs are going to be the end of my sanity!

Give Me Organic, Colorado
David!I'm so glad you posted this problem!I just changed 9 more of these light bulbs in my house yesterday myself, and while I was doing it I was thinking "What the heck am I going to do with all of these!!I'll be checking back to see what ideas people have. I'm with you though, it's like you don't want to give them away because it's like feeding the fire!

Aliya, Texas
There is NO good use for them, that is WHY you replaced them. Dispose of them properly.

VexxingVixxen, Georgia
I have a friend that recently changed religions, and instead of donating all of their books dedicated to the prior "religion" they BURNED them. I was horrified, but they explained it to me by saying that "if they were a reformed drug user, that they wouldn't pass along their used crack pipe to someone else".While a very poetic and noble way of looking at it, it is also very unrealistic.There are still plenty of crack pipes out there, and still plenty of light bulbs. Destroying yours isn't going to make a homeless shelter (or other worthy cause) stop using energy consuming bulbs, they will still buy them. Donate the bulbs and move on. :)

Alice J
Some ideas:

Make art with them, incorporating the paradox and conflict symbolised by the objects themselves into your work of art.

Write to your MP (should that be "congressman" in America? Or "congressperson???) and send them the lightbulbs. Explain your situation and ask that they either give you a logical way of re-using or recycling them, or use their influence to help bring about a ban on less energy-efficient lightbulbs. Might be quite effective if we all did it.

Paint them with glass paint and sell them on Ebay. Charge as much or more than your efficient bulbs cost, so that the buyer will be taxed for wasting the extra energy they'll use, and you will subsidise the purchase of your more expensive efficient bulbs.

Write to the company who made the inefficient bulbs, explain your situation and ask them to dispose of them in a logical way, since they created the problem in the first place. A mass campaign like this would be absolutely brilliant and could work with all kinds of products - let me know if you're up for spreading this idea around a bit!

Wire them up, stand well back, and run a high current through them so they explode. This will at least give you some enjoyment, and you could video it and put it on YouTube with an explanation, as an educational video about saving energy.

Give them to someone with a dimmer switch, as energy-efficient bulbs can't be used with dimmer switches. Of course you should also explain that you'd rather they got rid of the dimmer switch so they too could use energy efficient bulbs....