Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Tip #19 - CFLs and Ornaments for the Tree

I may get some odd feedback on this one, but let's see what happens. Let's say you're one of those folks in the minority out there who hasn't trimmed the tree yet and you're also one of those folks who just hasn't gotten around to changing out your lightbulbs. Well, instead of running out and buying ornaments, why not go get some CFLs and hang your old Edison bulbs all over the tree? How wild would that be, and what a conversation starter.

Now i have to add that the legal team of Handerson Landers and Flynn has told me that you are trying this at your own risk and should be very careful to secure all bulbs to the tree safely, lest they fall and smash on your train set. If anyone does do this though, please post up a pic cuz I think it'd look cool.

When the 26th comes around, you can donate those bulbs to a charitable organization and help them out while you are at it.

Whadya think?



Duane said...

Please don't put off taking that photo. If you wait too long you'll miss that shot and only have a photo of your tree doing an amazingly lifelike reproduction of a torch for your troubles. Those 100 watt bulbs get pretty hot.

Dave said...

I may have missed the point of saying to hang them but not plug them in.


Martin Madsen said...

Nice idea! It's certainly a fun way to open up a little spontaneous and friendly Christmas talk with invited guests about our environment, over-consumerism and the like!
I also wanted to mention how generally awesome your initiative and blog is! I saw it mentioned in a Danish magazine so your "little" seed of positive action is certainly spreading :) My wife and I also try to limit the amount of trash we generate. First of all by living in a small, two-room apartment where there's simply no space for unnecessary extras but also by being vegans and trying to recycle as much as possible.
Thank you for being inspirational and just all-round cool! Merry Christmas!

Dave said...

Thanks Martina and good on ya for al you're doing.


Wishful said...

This is a great idea. We have a craft fair locally where they sell christmas ornaments made out of old lightbulbs. They turn them upside down and paint them to look like santa and reindeer. Hard to explain, I wish I had a picture to share.

Anonymous said...

My daughter's Girl Scout troop decorated light bulbs as ornaments this year for Christmas. They loved it.

Ginny said...

I'd like to know how you could hang the light bulb on a tree? If you drill a small hole in the metal you'd probably break the bulb. If you tied a ribbon around the bulb at the small end it would probably fall through the hole eventually and break. If someone knows how, I too would love to see it.

Ann said...

I try to be environmentally conscious but it is for that reason that I don't use CFL's. CFL's contain mercury, a hazardous and dangerous contaminant, and if the CFL's break, you pretty much have to act like a hazmat team to clean it up. (I know from experience, as my son knocked over a lamp with a CFL in it and I had to do hours of cleanup, following instructions on the EPA's website.)

Furthermore, even if they don't break before they finally go out, when you throw them away, they have to be disposed of specially in order to keep the contaminants out of the environment. The vast majority of people don't know this, and of those that do, many have no access to facilities where they can dispose of the CFL's anyway. (Up until 6 months ago, this would have been true for us, as we lived in a small town with no special waste disposal facilities.)

LED lightbulbs are more expensive, but they save even more money than CFL's over time, are more energy efficient, last longer, and are much safer.

Dave said...

Hey Ann,
You make some good points, especially about those who can't dispose of the bulbs. Im trying to find a place they can be spent.

I have talked to the engineers who make the lightbulbs and while you have to be careful of the mercury in case it breaks, the hazmat sites are that specific due more to legal reasons than anything else. There is a dot of mercury in these things, not enough to kill anyone form what i am told. Also, when talking about the mercury, we need to compare it to the mercury that is released, unchecked, into the atmosphere from power planst all over this country. Regular bulbs mean more power whihc means more pollution. This is a much greater amount and much worse for us as a whole.

LEDS are on the way but not there yet. They will be though. Keep on working at it.


Dave said...

Hey ginny,
It seems to me that if you tie a string around the "ribs" a few times tight it should work just fine. Whatever you do, be careful though.


Melissa of {craftgasm} said...

I've seen the lightbulb ornaments painted with a snowman face at the skinny end, with a scrap of fabric added around the top to serve as his scarf and to disguise his origins. This flickr picture shows it well.

Looks like the photographer has other recycled items on their tree as well. :)

JB said...

Someone gave me an ornament a few years ago that is indeed an old-fashioned light bulb turned into Santa. The glass bulb is painted white for the beard. The glass neck has a little face painted on it. And the screw-in part is painted red, trimmed with cotton and topped with a tiny cotton ball for the hat. It's very cute. I would post a picture but I am not at all computer savvy, so...

Lisa said...

I applaud your efforts in this amazing journey, what an amazing story. Now, on to light bulbs. I must have been "green" before it was "cool" as I have decorated various forms of bulbs over the years. Amazing what they can become with a little imagination. Usually use a piece of wire to wind around the ridges and form a loop for hanging. Now more fragile that other glass ornaments, just wrap them in your plastic sacks with a small touch of air to protect them til next year. Make mighty fine Santa, Snowmen, or even hot air balloon if you turn them right side up!