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As You Sow Planting Seeds For Social Change

CFL Labelling

broken compact fluorescent lamp

CFLs packaging now has labels telling consumers how to safely dipose of broken or used bulbs.

The most popular alternative to incandescent bulbs is compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). They have become the poster-child for how the average consumer can help stop global warming, but these bulbs present a few environmental challenges. Consumers must be informed of the toxic mercury content in CFL bulbs and proper cleanup procedures in case of accidental breakage. A special collection system is also required to ensure that they do not contaminate waste streams and end up in landfills.

As You Sow filed a shareholder resolution with General Electric (GE) in 2009 requesting the company begin labelling their CFL packaging with information on mercury content and safe clean up instructions for broken bulbs.

After our engagement with the company on the importance of providing this information to ensure the safety of their CFL using customers, the company began working with the National Electronics Manufacturers Association (NEMA) to move the industry on this issue.

In 2010, NEMA and GE successfully urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule that manufacturers must include mercury content and a web link to clean-up information on all CFL packaging.

The special clean-up information can be found on the EPA website at http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup.html.

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