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The Difficulties of Recycling CFL Light Bulbs


Oswego, NY – Governor David Paterson is continuing to push his 45 By 15 energy policy.

The governor has challenged the state to meet 45 percent of its electricity needs through efficiency improvements and renewable energy by 2015.

Tom Congdon is the governor's deputy secretary for energy. On the Capitol Pressroom, he said if this program is successful, the state will save five times that amount of energy as traditional programs.

"Over ten years of traditional energy efficiency programs, we save 5,000 gigawatts of electricity. If we achieve our energy efficiency goals under 45 By 15, we're going to save 27,000 gigawatt hours over the next five years," said Congdon.

Congdon says the administration plans to make this goal by working with energy companies and providing incentives for New Yorkers to make energy efficiency improvements in their homes and workplaces.

One initiative is the appliance rebate program known as the Great Appliance Swap Out, which is currently underway and runs until this Sunday.

Another 45 By 15 initiative involves getting more people to replace their incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, of CFL's.

The New York State energy research and development authority is running this ad campaign, rallying New Yorkers to install CFL's.

The NYSERDA sponsored campaign is called Shining Example New York. It calls for New Yorkers to install 16.9 million CFL's statewide.

These bulbs can last up to ten times longer and use 75 percent less energy than the traditional incandescent bulb.

However, the CFL's contain mercury, and some states don't make it clear on how to dispose of them safely. As part of collaboration between Northeast stations, Lucy Nalpathanchil reports.

Northeast Environmental coverage is part of NPR's Local News Initiative and is made possible in part by a grant from United Technologies.