Wal-Mart’s CFL Paradox

Home Depot recycles compact fluorescents. Why not Wal-Mart?

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


CONSUMER RETORTS

Consumer Retorts

Wal-Mart’s CFL Paradox

Home Depot recycles compact fluorescents. Why not Wal-Mart?

WAL-MART has taken the lead (and the credit) in promoting compact fluorescent lightbulbs. More than 260 million have flown off its shelves since November 2006. But what about taking back used bulbs, which contain enough mercury to qualify as hazardous waste? Home Depot lets customers hand over spent CFLs at the returns desk, while IKEA has on-site disposal bins. For its part, Wal-Mart has invited customers to bring in their old bulbs just once—on a single day in 2007. Its website doesn’t mention that the bulbs require special disposal or that they contain a neurotoxin that escapes if they break, say, in your kitchen trash. Spokesman Greg Rossiter says there are no collection plans in the works, “but if someone did have a bulb to recycle, we could direct them to a local location.” The company notes that it’s made suppliers cut the mercury in their bulbs by as much as a third. It also says its goal is to “create zero waste”—so why not start here?

HAVE A PROBLEM? Oh yes, you do. Go to motherjones.com/consumer-retorts to vent about annoying products and corporate policies. Selected entries will get MoJo swag

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate