Costco Energy Saver Lightbulbs Aren’t

If you’re just coming around to compact fluorescent light bulb don’t make your first purchase at Costco. I was excited to find those round bathroom bulbs in an energy saver fluorescent for a decent price at Costco, but just 2 months later my hopes for saving energy and money were dimmed–literally. The bulbs dimmed after a little over 1 month. I tried to ignore it thinking it was my imagination, but then the whole family started complaining. I looked closer and sure enough next to traditional bulbs the once bright energy savers were dull. Less than 2 months for expensive bulbs, doesn’t seem like a bright idea.

But I am quite please with other CFLs around the house. So I’m still a believer in the technology. We bought our first bulbs over 2 years ago and they are still in place.

When I removed the Costco bulbs I noticed a freaky warning “Contains Mercury. Dispose of according to local, state and federal laws.” I’ll admit this alarmed me and made me wonder if it was worth purchasing CFLs or if they would do more harm than good. So I turned to Google and found this on the Energy Star website:

What should I do with a CFL when it burns out?
EPA recommends that consumers take advantage of available local recycling options for compact fluorescent light bulbs. EPA is working with CFL manufacturers and major U.S. retailers to expand recycling and disposal options. Consumers can contact their local municipal solid waste agency directly, or go to http://www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling or http://www.earth911.org to identify local recycling options.
If your state or local environmental regulatory agency permits you to put used or broken CFLs in the garbage, seal the bulb in two plastic bags and put it into the outside trash, or other protected outside location, for the next normal trash collection. Never send a fluorescent light bulb or any other mercury-containing product to an incinerator.


The Costco bulbs do not carry the Energy Star logo. I checked my other CFLs and it turns out that we have a variety of CFLs in our home. Some have the Energy Star logo others do not. All contain the mercury warning. But only the bathroom lights were purchased at Costco. Could they just be duds? Maybe. Costco will refund the purchase easily.

If your ENERGY STAR qualified CFL product burns out before it should, look at the CFL base to find the manufacturer’s name. Visit the manufacturer’s web site to find the customer service contact information to inquire about a refund or replacement. Manufacturers producing ENERGY STAR qualified CFLs are required to offer at least a two-year limited warranty (covering manufacturer defects) for CFLs used at home. In the future, save your receipts to document the date of purchase.

When it does come time to recycle your CFLs you can either take them to a recycling facility that accepts hard to recycle items or many Home Depots accept light bulbs for recycling.

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