SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and Ameren Illinois Utilities (AIU) are teaming up to encourage Illinois residents to increase both their use and recycling of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Through a joint initiative, downstate Illinois residents now have an opportunity to participate in a convenient, no-cost way to safely dispose of used household generated CFLs. The state is also making it possible for many Illinois residents to purchase a wide variety of ENERGY STAR® CFLs at sharply discounted prices.
“Making the switch to CFL bulbs is an easy way Illinoisans can help reduce their carbon footprint. Through two key initiatives, we’re able to reduce the cost of CFLs to the consumer and improve proper disposal of old bulbs,” said DCEO Director Warren Ribley. “We are proud to partner with Ameren in helping people make their homes more ‘green’ without breaking their wallets.”
DCEO provided grant funding to Ameren Illinois Utilities to establish nearly 100 CFL bulb recycling collection points within their Illinois service territories. The state’s grant enabled AIU to work with various public and private entities to recruit dozens of partners to establish almost 100 locations throughout their Illinois service territory to collect used, unbroken CFL bulbs generated by residential sources. All CFL bulbs collected through this initiative will be sent to a processor for proper recycling and/or disposal. Ameren Illinois Utilities has also developed and disseminated training information for all third-party partners. Grant funds will also go toward recycling processing costs, as well as promotional, education and advertising efforts for the project.
The state also announced today that DCEO has distributed more than 144,000 CFL bulbs in 122 retail locations in central and downstate Illinois. Customers in targeted locations will be able to purchase ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent lights at discounted prices, which vary depending upon location. The discounts will be offered at various stores in towns outside of Ameren’s service areas.
Using CFL bulbs instead of traditional incandescent light bulbs is an easy change households can make to reduce their energy usage and costs.
“Using a CFL instead of a traditional bulb can save $5 in energy costs for an entire year. Replacing 20 incandescent bulbs with CFLs can add up to $100 in annual savings,” said Karen Warnke, Ameren Illinois Utilities energy efficiency advisor. “But what happens when a CFL burns out? Though a CFL contains a trace amount of mercury – about equal to the period at the end of this sentence – it is important to know that CFLs are safe to use. We also want Illinoisans to have the option to recycling their CFL bulbs.”
Additional information about purchasing discounted CFLs and to learn more about AIU’s CFL recycling program, including a detailed list of recycling locations, is available at the Ameren Illinois Utilities’ Act On Energy Web site (ActOnEnergy.com).