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How many Lords does it take to change a lightbulb?

(Updated with exciting apparent possibility of plagiarism by Lord Rooker)

One to take it out of the socket, one to open the window, and one to drive to the tip, cough, local civic amenity site:

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to take action to inform all households and businesses in what way they should safely dispose of used fluorescent light bulbs and how they should deal with breakages, bearing in mind the toxic substances contained in those commodities.

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker (1))

However, it is sensible for householders to take reasonable precautions in cleaning up and disposing of a broken bulb, such as ventilating the room for 15 minutes. A broken bulb can be taken to a local civic amenity site. Local authorities are under an obligation to provide such sites for the disposal of household waste. Source

I for one, would love to know how many people will follow this advice, and also how tip workers would react. Presuming that only green / safety obsessives and the mentally unhinged (at the risk of a redundancy...) would go through with this pantomime, doubtless only public transport would be good enough for transporting this flask of anthrax equivalent, and driver, passengers et al would have to be alerted. I suspect hilarity would ensue.

(1) Rooker has form: "Rather than build a water grid, it would be much better to move the population and centres of Government and reconfigure the country more fairly".


An Anonymous commentator (who thinks I was being flippant - yes, very guilty) draws our attention to what the US EPA has to say on fluorescent tubes. Compare and contrast what it says with what Rooker says:

EPA: "CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 5 milligrams – about the amount that would cover the tip of a ballpoint pen...No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or in use".

Rooker: "
I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the House that while energy efficient bulbs do contain a small amount of mercury (enough to cover the tip of a ball point pen) it cannot escape from an intact bulb".

EPA: "The following steps can be performed by the general public: 1. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more"

Rooker: "
However, it is sensible for householders to take reasonable precautions in cleaning up and disposing of a broken bulb, such as ventilating the room for 15 minutes".

Has the Lord just had a Joe Biden moment? If so, why don't we just be done with him and direct Lord Stoddart to google?

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Anonymous Nomad said... 10:34 am

Goodness me!! I didn't know these bulbs contained "toxic substances". I am now going helter skelter to my local DIY shop to stock up on those little yellow diamond-shaped hazard notice thingies you see on the back of trucks to put one up in each room. My rubbish bin is clearly a swamp of toxicity. Help...

Does the noble lord's advice also apply to my old torch batteries?

I am now in a serious quandry on priorities - toxic waste in the bin or greenhouse emissions on the way to and from the amenity.

What i a chap to do with all this conflicting information?  

Blogger anthonynorth said... 11:13 am

They should have asked the Butler.  

Blogger Ed said... 11:37 am

As I discovered when I attempted to use public transport to return home from B&Q, hazardous items are already barred entry to the People's Bus Network.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 11:44 am

N - it is quite the quandary, isn't it?

Anthony - you could well be right.

Ed - I'm all ears. Further & better particulars?  

Blogger Ed said... 12:59 pm

I wasn't allowed to take a sealed tin of paint on the bus. I will try and find the amusing emails I received from TfL and forward them to you.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 1:04 pm

Ye gods. So DIY is strictly for people with their own transport.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 2:47 pm

Don't laugh.

To think about how to dispose of CFLs does not make you a "safety obsessives". CFLs contain Mercury vapor, just like their big brothers (i.e. "strip lights"). A broken fluorescent light can easily result in Mercury contamination.

Interesting advice on how to deal with broken CFL can be found at this link.


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