Recycle Light Bulbs

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ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
You can in fact recycle light bulbs — shift them to a second use — if the bulbs are still working.

I don’t know about you, but some of my best ideas occur to me at the oddest moments. For instance, while sitting in my car as it idled in front of a stop signal not long ago, I suddenly realized that — in all my years of driving — I had seen only one burnt-out traffic light!

Now city folks may be able to boast a better “sighting” record, since I tend to stay clear of overinhabited places whenever I can. Nevertheless, I have spent my share of time stopped at lighted intersections … and I’ve still witnessed only that one bad stoplight.

But, you may wonder, what is the point of this discussion? To state it simply, I’ve discovered a way to recycle light bulbs … free!

Traffic light crews, you see, are very efficient. They tend to change signal bulbs long before the units are expected to burn out. So all I had to do was find out what was done with the still-useful replaced lamps, and get my hands on a few of them.

Less than a week later, while driving through town, I found my answer. A workman stood on the corner, preparing to change the bulbs in a traffic signal. Recognizing the situation as a golden opportunity, I pulled over and asked about the fate of the bulbs. The man informed me that they were taken back to the city’s administration offices and that — from there — people generally took them home even though the bulbs were an odd size (69 watts).

The next thing I knew, he’d handed me a dozen half used 69-watters! I drove away delighted, knowing I was helping to extend the life of used materials, and that I’d be saving energy by employing the lower-wattage units in my home.

And now perhaps you can tap into this source of “free” light, too. After all, aren’t great ideas meant to be shared?

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