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Kent Environmental Council
JULY 2013
In This Issue
Sustainable Lighting for the Future Offers Options
Options for Hazardous-Waste Disposal Exist but Sometimes Hard to Find
Engineers in Cleveland Hope to Build America's First Offshore Wind Farm
Climate Change: Greenhouse Gas, Carbon Dioxide Set New World Record
Save the Date: Organic Farms Tour September 26
KEC Membership Renewals Due; New Members Welcome
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Featured Article


Welcome to the July 2013 issue of the Kent Environmental Council newsletter.  
Sustainable Lighting for the Future Offers Options 
Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb

Choosing a light bulb used to be a pretty simple task, but now it can be very confusing with so many choices available.  Each type of lighting has pros and cons, and one of the most difficult tasks is determining how much light a particular type of bulb will give off in comparison to the incandescent light bulbs that the federal government has mandated be phased out by 2016. According to, which offers solutions for sustainable living, LED light bulbs will eventually be what we use to replace incandescent bulbs. The organization sees CFLs as a temporary solution to energy-efficient lighting.


Types of Bulbs


Incandescent bulbs, the most common type of light bulb until recently, uses a tungsten filament to produce a steady, warm yellow to white light and is suitable for many household applications.  They are the least efficient type of bulb, using more electricity and burning out sooner.


Halogen bulbs also use a tungsten filament but contain a halogen gas that causes them to burn much brighter than an incandescent. They are very useful in areas where a lot of light is needed; however, they produce more heat and could be a fire hazard in some circumstances. They last about twice as long as incandescent bulbs and are more expensive to purchase.


Fluorescent bulbs emit light by running electricity through gasses such as mercury and argon. They use very little power (80% less than incandescent bulbs), produce a very small amount of heat, have a 20,000-hour lifespan and disperse a blue-white light evenly over a larger area than any other type of light. This type of bulb is used in many public areas. Many people have problems with this light because the bulbs tend to flicker and because they contain mercury.


Compact fluorescent bulbs, commonly referred to as CFLs, work approximately the same as fluorescent bulbs but are smaller, last approximately 12,000 hours (roughly eight years) and use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. They are designed to radiate a steadier light with no flicker, although some people still notice a flicker. They also contain mercury.


LED bulbs produce light using a light-emitting diode; it does not contain a filament. LED bulbs consume very little energy and last longer than any other type of light bulb. Cool LEDs produce more glare, and most people prefer the warm LEDs. The first generation of LEDs produced a narrow and focused beam of light and were very expensive. Recent developments have begun to address these issues, with LEDs being clustered to provide more light and using a diffuser to spread the light more. Advancements are driving the price down, and that trend should continue.


Bulb Brightness and Energy Usage


Watts measure the energy used by bulbs, while lumens measure the brightness a bulb provides. Starting in 2012, the Federal Trade Commission required light bulb labels to emphasize lumens rather than watts to measure a bulb's brightness. 


While actual numbers may vary slightly from one manufacturer or another, the values are approximated in the following table provided by Whitmer's Lighting in Akron, Ohio:

regular light bulbs table
reflective light bulbs table


More detailed information has been put out by the U.S. Department of Energy in the following table, which looks at energy use/brightness, hours of service, color rendition index (CRI) and color temperature (K). The last two terms warrant some explanation. The CRI indicates the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison to sunlight, which is given a value of 100. Color temperature indicates the apparent color of a light source.


light bulb characteristics table provides the following cost comparisons for LEDs, CFLs and Incandescent light bulbs:



comparison table

The Mercury Issue


According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there are approximately 4 mg of mercury sealed within a CFL bulb, and manufacturers are working to reduce this even further. (Older thermometers used 500 mg of mercury.) No mercury is released unless the bulb is broken. Packaging indicates that users should all dispose of CFLs according to local, state and federal disposal laws ( Proper disposal is not easy because bulb users are not aware of local sites. (See related article in this newsletter about hazardous waste disposal.) While small amounts of mercury can be released into the environment when a CFL breaks or is improperly disposed of, the use of CFLs actually helps reduce total mercury emissions in the United States because of the bulbs' significant energy savings. According to the Food and Drug Administration, "Using energy-saving CFLs reduces demand for electricity, which in turn reduces the amount of coal burned by power plants, which reduces emissions of mercury when the coal is burned."


The bottom line is that use of energy-efficient bulbs may cost more in the short run, but in the long run save the user money and help the environment. It is a challenge to determine which bulbs are right for particular lighting needs, but the effort is worth it.


--Lorraine McCarty

activeliving3Options for Hazardous-Waste Disposal Exist but Sometimes Hard to Find

A rechargeable battery in a cracked electric toothbrush that I wanted to discard led me to question how to do so properly in Portage County. I started researching how to recycle compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which contain mercury. Also, it is important to recycle computers and other electronics because they contain hazardous materials such as lead, arsenic and cadmium. Various household pesticides and chemicals also can damage the environment. I learned that there are options for some hazardous waste materials but not for others.


circuit board
Circuit board
Bill Steiner, director of the Portage County Solid Waste Management District, said that because of lack of funding, there is no longer a full hazardous waste collection center in the county. However, the Portage County Solid Waste District Recycling Center at 3588 Mogadore Road in Brimfield Township (330-678-8808) DOES accept waste oil, antifreeze, and rechargeable batteries (not regular batteries) as well as electronics such as computers, printers, monitors and towers (but not televisions). The center also accepts lead acid batteries, appliances without Freon, and scrap metal and has a drop-off receptacle for number 3 through number 7 plastics (but not through curbside recycling). Visit the recycling center's website 
 for links to other recycling resources.


It will be another year before Portage County settles on a new solid waste plan. Until then, other hazardous waste recycling is cost prohibitive, as the center is trying to purchase new trucks, which are quite expensive. When I asked specifically about CFL recycling because of the mercury, Steiner suggested Lowe's home improvement centers. I checked with Lowe's and learned that they do have a recycling drop box at their stores (usually near the returns area), and they DO accept unbroken CFL bulbs, one bulb to each bag (which they provide). They also accept any rechargeable batteries, including those for cell phones, and laptops and old tools with rechargeable batteries weighing less than 11 pounds. They do NOT accept regular batteries.


Home Depot also accepts CFL and rechargeable tool batteries at their Streetsboro and Bainbridge/Aurora stores for recycling. Some of their Akron stores follow the same policy, but several Akron stores told me that they will accept any rechargeable batteries.


If you are a Summit County resident or business, Summit County has a Household Hazardous Waste Recycling Center at 1201 Graham Road in Stow with very with limited days and hours. Call 330-374-0383 or check online for more information. They do NOT accept electronics at the center, but their website lists several companies that accept specific electronic items and televisions for recycling.


Can't find a drop-off nearby? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gives these additional resources with a disclaimer that the sites are listed for informational purposes only and that the USEPA does not endorse any of the entities or their services:, Earth911.comeCyclingCenter and


Do you know of local recycling resources not mentioned here? Let KEC know by contacting Lorraine McCarty (330-554-3829), through Facebook or by writing to KEC, P.O. Box 395, Kent, OH 44240. We will publish any additional resources in our next newsletter and post them on our website.


--Lorraine McCarty  
 Engineers in Cleveland Hope to Build America's First Offshore Wind Farm
wind turbine
Wind turbine

States along the Atlantic Coast are racing to be first in the country to put wind turbines offshore. But a group in Ohio says the first offshore wind farm in America isn't likely to be in the Atlantic-it will be in the fresh waters of Lake Erie about seven miles off the Cleveland coast.

Promoters of clean wind say that in the next decade, hundreds of turbines in Lake Erie could produce 1,000 megawatts of power-enough for 200,000 homes. The plan is to start in 2015 with a five- to nine-turbine pilot project within sight of downtown Cleveland.


Engineers, however, first need to solve a problem that most ocean wind farms don't have: massive floes of shifting ice each winter. The "ice breaker" design that's being studied will deflect ice away from the monopole that holds the massive turbines. Engineers are studying the soil beneath the lake to determine the most efficient foundations for the turbines.


Some other Great Lakes players are backing away from offshore wind turbine development because of environmental concerns. In Michigan, lawmakers and residents are concerned about disturbing the lake's natural beauty. Meanwhile in Canada, all of Ontario's offshore power projects have been put on hold.


The world's first freshwater wind farm went on line in 2010 in Lake Vanern, Sweden. Engineers in Cleveland are hoping to benefit from lessons learned there. They say the project's engineering problems actually are the easiest to solve. It's the political and economic challenges that are likely to remain the thorniest.


Ohio passed a renewable energy mandate in 2008 which stipulates that by 2025, 25 percent of the energy produced must be renewable and half of that amount must be produced within the state. Utility companies are reluctantly coming on board. FirstEnergy is dragging its heels and backing legislation to rescind the mandate, an effort that failed in committee in the last state legislative session. The fight, however, is not over, and it is likely to reappear this fall.


Dave Karpinski, vice president of wind developer LEEDCo, says the planned Lake Erie wind farm will create bustling ports, bring hundreds of workers to assemble wind turbines, attract ship crews to ferry them, and engineers to install them.  


Karpinski and LEEDCo, however, are facing a sink-or-swim deadline. They must have their wind farm plans and permits in place by next February to compete for one of three $50 million Department of Energy offshore wind grants.

first windmill
First windmill (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

While engineers in Cleveland hope to build America's first offshore wind farm, windmills have a history in the state.


Ohioan Charles Brush, whose company would eventually merge to form General Electric, invented the first automatic wind-powered turbine in 1887.


The machine's tower was 60 feet tall and its wheel 56 feet wide. It weighed 40 tons and at its peak, generated 12 kilowatts enough to power 350 lamps, three motors and two arc lights. (Source: Green Energy Ohio)


--Jeff St. Clair  

 Climate Change: Greenhouse Gas, Carbon Dioxide Set New World Record 

July and August hot enough? The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced in May that the chief greenhouse culprit, carbon dioxide, reached levels of 400 parts per million (ppm) as recorded at the official station in Hawaii for the northern hemisphere. This is a level not seen in 2 million years.


The world record is expected to average 396 ppm this year. The trend is an increase at faster and faster rates. James Butler, director of global monitoring at NOAA's Boulder, Colorado, office, said that within a decade, the world will never see days--even on low carbon-dioxide days--when the carbon measurement falls below 400 ppm. Carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for a century. Because the world's cars and smokestacks pump 2.4 million pounds of the heat-trapping gas every second, prompt action is imperative to slow down this upward trend--let alone cool it.


Rick Hawksley, a Kent resident, notes that Bill McKibben and Org 350 contend that anything above a world average of 350 ppm will be catastrophic. McKibben estimates that climate change already contributes to 500,000 deaths per year around the world caused by water-borne diseases.


For concerned citizens, the Union of Concerned Scientists offers practical steps for low-carbon living at their website.


Source: Record-Courier, May 13, 2013. 


--Edith Chase 

Winner of KEC Heritage Festival Raffle Announced

The Kent Heritage Festival booth attracted a lot of attention with its solar panels that were able to run a fan, it's solar hot dog cooker, and it's shared space with Concerned Citizens. The winner of the basket of environmental literature raffled off was Jeff Ball.

Save the Date: Organic Farms Tour
September 26

The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association is offering a Tour of Organic Farms in Portage County on Thursday, September 26, Birdsong Farm, Garrettsville. Ohio. For more information, click here.

KEC Membership Renewals Due; New Members Welcome to Join

It's time to renew your KEC membership this year or join if you are not a member. February was the deadline for all KEC dues. Remember, dues are the main source of income for KEC. We need your support to do our work. Just fill out the KEC membership form. Enclose the completed form and your check made payable to: Kent Environmental Council and mail  to: KEC, P.O. Box 395, Kent, OH 44240. To join or renew online with PayPal, click here. Membership levels are $45, Sustaining; $35, Family; $25, Individual; $15, Golden Buckeye; $10, Student; $500, Lifetime; and $200, Organization.  




Offer Expires: No Expiration Date