Tuesday, June 07, 2011

How many bureaucrats does it take to dispose of a light bulb?

"Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more. Shut off the central heating and air conditioning system. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with a metal lid."

Such are the government's guidelines for disposing of a compact fluorescent light bulb, should you drop one on the kitchen floor. (Evidently all bureaucrats have central air conditioning in their homes.)

Is there any doubt in your mind that, if this were any other object than one mandated by the nanny state, it would be banned as an environmental hazard by the EPA? Yet no less an authority figure than the president of the United States has lent the prestige of his office to phasing out the incandescent bulb, which becomes contraband in the United States on January 1.

CFLs, the president says, will save the average household $50 a year. But of course they won't! At least half the savings will be eaten up by the fact that we'll be less rigorous about turning off the lights. For several years I've had a CFL bulb in the hallway: it burns 24/7. Why not? It's cheap to run, and besides, if I kept turning it on and off, I might break it. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

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