Compact Fluorescents: Home Depot makes it possible to save money AND save the planet

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In case you haven't heard, it won't be too long before everybody in the country will be switching over to compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs. Although the twisty little lights are more expensive than ordinary lightbulbs, they use about a quarter of the electricity and last ten times as long. Unfortunately, they also contain mercury, which means that they can't be thrown away with the regular garbage, as they will pollute the groundwater around landfills. This problem threw a major monkey wrench into the U.S. government's plan to phase out incandescent light bulbs over the next six years. After all, if the U.S. doesn't have an infrastructure for dealing with blown or broken fluorescents, then it can't really make them the sole form of legal lightbulb, can it?

Enter Home Depot.

Home Depot, the second-largest retailer in the United States, announced yesterday that it would begin accepting used CFLs in all of its 1,973 stores. While other stores have previously offered bulb recycling on special days, this program will be available at all times. It will be the largest CFL recycling program in the country. What's more, given that 75% of the U.S. population lives within ten miles of a Home Depot, this program will also be relatively convenient.

I've always liked the way that CFLs save money; now I love the way that Home Depot's saving the groundwater!

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He usually doesn't get this excited about a retailer, but until the government picks up the slack, it's nice to have Home Depot!

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