You may have received an e-mail warning you about the fact that the new eco-friendly energy-saving light bulbs are actually very dangerous and contain toxic mercury. Here's the low-down on the bulbs courtesy of our own Peter Peters, Deputy Director: Engineering Services 

Energy-saving light bulbs are known as Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL’s) - they contain 5mg of mercury which is 100 times less than the amount found in a tooth filling.

Safe disposal tips for CFL’s:CFL's

It is important to dispose of old CFL’s in a safe, responsible manner. To avoid creating any risk to the environment, everyone is encouraged to take special measures to dispose of used CFL’s.

  • Always store used CFL’s in a safe place, in a non breakable container or plastic bag (to contain the lamp in the event of a breakage) until they have been disposed of safely.
  • Drop off old CFL’s at participating retailers who offer a take back service, i.e. Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay.
  • CFL’s should only be disposed with general waste as a last resort. In this case the bulbs should be wrapped in news paper and placed in a plastic bag to reduce the risk of breakage and potential contamination of other recyclable waste and to avoid physical contact with yourself.

Light manufactures have over the years reduced the amount of mercury in fluorescent lamps from 35mg in 1976 to 5mg in 2000.