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Greenbuild Conference: Waste Management

The sustainability movement has gone through a series of evolutions and iterations over the past several years—from nascent niche groups to mainstream, greenwashing, and back again—bringing us to the somewhat confusing current state of affairs.

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The pressing message of the environmental crisis is at the forefront of American minds, yet we’re still stumbling our way towards a truly sustainable model.

Case in point is the CFL, or compact fluorescent light, the low hanging fruit of energy conservation. The easy-to-adopt traditional bulb replacement lasts exponentially longer than its antiquated predecessor, and uses much less energy, but elicits a new set of its very own green concerns. Since the lights last so long—and have only been introduced relatively recently—no one has really addressed what to do when CFL’s finally do tucker out.

These new-fangled soft-serve-looking lights contain mercury, which means it’s not ok to just toss them in the trash. In steps Waste Management, that company behind those big green trucks that most likely pick up your curbside recycling each week. With the introduction of their new program, all you need to do is go online, have a recycling kit sent to your doorstep, stuff your spent CFLs in the provided box, and drop it in the mail. Waste Management takes care of the rest.

Up next, similar programs for disposal and recycling of batteries, computer towers, monitors, and the like.

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