CFL Lighting

A quick and easy way toward a better environment


It’s hard to believe that something that looks as simple as a swirl of soft serve ice cream has the potential to dramatically reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, gas and electric bills, and our dependence on coal and foreign oil.

The ice-cream-cone look-alike is the compact fluorescent light bulb, or CFL. These swirl-shaped CFL bulbs use less power compared with “standard†incandescent lightbulbs, resulting in energy savings and lower electric bills. They emit the same light as the common bulbs, and basically pay for themselves by lasting longer.

Most homes have between 15-30 lightbulb sockets, and if every family switched out even just one bulb from incandescent to an energy efficient compact fluorescent, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars, according to Even better? If every family swapped out five of their most-used bulbs for CFLs, we’d be saving as much energy as taking 8 million cars off the road.  

Once the CFL bulbs finally do burn out, they must–by law–be disposed of properly because they contain mercury.

“They can’t be thrown in the regular trash,†says Michelle Sanderson, communications specialist with Great River Energy. “They must be recycled by bringing them to your local recycler or by bringing them to the Great River Energy Recycling Center at the Living Green Expo May 3 and 4.â€

Great River Energy’s mission is to “provide members with reliable energy at competitive rates in harmony with a sustainable environment.â€

“Partnering with the Living Green Expo is aligned with our environmental beliefs,†Sanderson explains. “Great River Energy is committed to conserving resources through environmental stewardship, pollution prevention, waste minimization, recycling, and reuse. Our ‘A Brighter Idea’ campaign encourages all of our 600,000-plus members to replace at least five incandescent bulbs with CFLs; therefore, we feel it is extremely important to offer a free recycling service for expired CFL bulbs.â€

For more information about Great River Energy’s commitment to sustainable energy, visit

For information about the benefits of CFLs, visit

Expo attendees can drop off their old CFLs at the Living Green Expo from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 3 and 4 at the Recycling Center located outside of the Grandstand Entrance on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.