Wal-Mart’s CFL Paradox

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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest