This is just my opinion, but CFL bulbs were one of the biggest scams brought over the public. Fully knowing LED technology was just a few years away, we were all told it was imperrative we phase out incandescent bulbs for long lasting, energy saving CFL bulbs. These curly-cue bulbs would save America! But what did we find out? They are destroying the environment!
Not only did the bulbs turn out to last far less then expected(in my shop, about eight months!), but most people found recycling these toxic time bombs too inconvenient and chose instead to throw the dead bulbs out in the trash...by the millions. Lead, mercury, plastics, waferboard, and a myriad of chemichals tossed into the landfills or worse, burned.
These CFL bulbs needed special packaging as well. Over packaging to prevent breakage as they were shipped from China to the USA. Think of the energy needed to produce these bulbs, their packaging, and the worldwide shipping. I dare say the energy savings were paid for in a huge way.
Now, just a few years later, these CFL bulbs are disappearing from the marketplace after people spent millions of dollars on them, to be replaced with LED bulbs, a technology well known to have been just around the corner. We could have waited just a few years for LEDs, and it would have saved us from the toxins of CFLs. But, I suppose, some people got rich selling CFLs.
oit is possible to be a 'zero waste' business, but acheiving that status is very difficult indeed. I am profoundly impressed with any business or household that reaches that goal. Here at The Lamp Repair Shop, I haven't quite gotten to zero waste, but I have come close. Through due diligence and diciplined
recycling habits, I have managed to reduce the waste generated in my studio to five gallons or less each month! For a business that restores as much merchandise as mine, this is a tremendous accomplishment.
Reduce Reuse Recycle
On every work bench I have a small pail to collect scraps of metal. Aluminum, copper, brass, steel, iron, etc. These bits of metal are salvaged from sockets, lamps, plugs, and anything else that gets worked on. It doesn't sound like much, but after just a few days the pails are full of recyclable metal that would otherwise be tossed in the trash.
All of Five Minutes
That's it. When one of the pails is full, the metal is separated into 5-gallon buckets. This step takes but a few minutes, but it saves me a huge hassle at the scrap yard. Handing them a five gallon bucket of pre-sorted metal speeds things along nicely, so I can do it more frequently and avoid having tons of metal around the shop all the time.
Not Too Bad Cap'n
Along with the metal scraps, all the paper, cardboard, glass, and most of the hard plastic that cannot be reused in the business gets binned and recycled, conveniently collected by the city. How easy is that? The end result is a paltry five gallon pail of trash needs to be brought home to the dumpster, sometimes only once every two months! And that ain't too bad.
This is all of October, 2017's trash!
Over 42,000 lamps have been restored to the marketplace by my shop since 1986.
Just think how much volume that has kept out of the landfills by just one conscientous business!
he electric bill in my 2500 square foot studio was much too high for my comfort. However, being a lamp repair and lighting restoration business does require having a lot of lights on, a lot of the time. There is also a lot of power equipment consuming electricity. So, where to cut power consumption?
How about those flourescent lights up there on the ceiling? Each light fixture has two eight-foot bulbs, and each bulb consumes 96 watts. I have twenty fours of these light fixtures in the studio. So flipping a switch cranks on 4,608 watts of energy. These were the first to go. I took all but four fixtures offline and used my restored light fixtures to illuminate the store. This alone lowered my electric bill to less than $100 a month. !
Exchanging incandescent light bulbs for energy efficient bulbs is a no-brainer. Thus I, like many people, fell victim to the CFL scam(see sidebar) because we thought we were doing the right thing. But lately, with LED technology improving by the hour, all my lights are now illuminated with a myriad of styles of LED bulbs. Not only has this created a wonderful lighting experience, it has lowered my electric cumsumption even further than when CFLs were being used. Now I average $60 a month in electric bills.
Darn illuminating, if you ask me.
I also do not use an air conditioner in the studio. Yes it gets hot in here. Some days downright uncomfortable. But this is Maine, and we only get a few precious days of hazy, hot, and humid each year. Besides, what a colossal waste of energy it would be trying to drop the air temperature in a 2500 square foot space with ten foot ceilings. I'd rather run a couple of antique fans.