Archive for Green Tips

Three Easy Steps to Clean Up A Broken CFL Bulb

With the eco revolution that’s been going on in recent years, it’s probably pretty safe to assume that everyone has heard that switching their incandescent bulbs to CFL’s is the way to go.  Yes, they cost more upfront, but over the course of the bulb’s life, CFL’s save.  They use about 75% less energy to provide the same amount of light and last about six times longer.  CFL bulbs also generate 70% less heat so not only are they safer to operate, but they also reduce the cost of cooling homes and offices.  Sounds like a no brainer to me.

cfl green background

Here’s the thing, though.  CFL’s contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass.  Under normal operation, this is perfectly fine and is no cause for alarm.  If a CFL bulb breaks, the mercury is released into the air as a vapor and it is very important to clean it up and dispose of it properly.

Cleaning Up A Broken CFL

  • Air out the room for 5-10 minutes.  Keep all people and furpeople out of the area while it’s airing out.
  • Use a piece of stiff cardboard to scoop up the large pieces of glass.  Super sticky tape like packing tape will help pick up any small pieces and shards.  Put all broken pieces in a sealable container like a glass jar with a lid or a ziplock style plastic bag.  Do NOT vacuum; it could actually spread the mercury vapor.
  • Contact your local government about disposal.  Some municipalities require CFL bulbs (whether they are broken or not) to be recycled.  Others don’t have this requirement and will allow you to throw them away with your trash.  If you can, continue to air out the room for a few hours and store the broken CFL outside until you can dispose of it.

Personally, I don’t feel right just throwing a broken CFL away with my regular garbage, only to have that glass and mercury sit in a landfill.  Most hardware stores in my area recycle CFLs including Ace, Lowe’s, How Depot, and True Value.  If you are unsure of where your local recycling center is, you can look it at Earth 911.

By the way, don’t freak out if you break a CFL.  It is only a small amount of mercury (less than 1/100th of what’s in a mercury thermometer), but it is still important to take proper clean up steps for the safety of your family and the environment.

For more information, check out the EPA’s page about cleaning up broken CFL’s.

Herbal Learning for Kids and Free Recipes

I think it’s so important to get kids involved and excited about herbs from a young age!  Learning about herbs teaches them how to help heal themselves as well as be stewards for the environment.  But how do you get kids excited to learn about herbs and nature??

Earlier this week, I heard that John and Kimberly Gallagher over at LearningHerbs.com are going to be opening up their Herb Fairies book club again this year.  Kimberly (creator of Wildcraft the board game) has written a collection of stories in 13 interactive books that teach children about plant identification and herbalism.

HerbFairies-WholeSet

It’s a fun way to inspire the children in your life to become interested in herbs.

There’s a really adorable “film festival” at the Herb Fairies site of kids who participated in the book club last year and it will give you an idea of how much they learned from these books.  They’ve got some great herbal recipes (herbal candy & cookies!!), coloring book pages, posters…  And they even gave me an activity pack to share with you!

This link will take you directly to the Herb Fairies website where you will be able to access all of the fun freebies!

dandelion-cookies

While I don’t have any kids of my own to sign up for this program, I have done many others through Learning Herbs including Rosemary’s Remedies (a video series with the one and only Rosemary Gladstar!) and Herb First Aid with 7Song.  If any of their other courses are any indication, I have no problem getting behind Herb Fairies.  I’ve learned so much from the courses that I’ve taken with Learning Herbs and John always goes above and beyond with content and extras.

color-violet-fairySo, head on over to the Herb Fairies site in order to access the film festival, a coloring book page, a poster of the herb fairy Viola, a video and recipe sheet for candied Violet flowers, and just today they posted yet another video and recipe, this time for dandelion cookies.  In just a few days, registration for the Herb Fairies book club will be open and they will share all of the details about the course.  In the meantime, enjoy the fun freebies!

Oh!  But before you go, don’t forget to download the activity pack that John gave me for you!  It features Stellaria (the chickweed fairy) and has a recipe for chickweed grilled cheese sandwiches, a coloring page, and more.  Just right click on the image below and select “Save As.”

activity-pack-image

Also, I’d love to know how you get your kids involved in herbal learning.  Do you go wildcrafting or have any favorite recipes?  Please share in the comments below!  Feel free to share these great freebies, too!

Disclosure:  This is my affiliate link to the program and if you decide to sign up when registration is available, I will earn a commission.  That said, I would not be recommending Herb Fairies to you if I hadn’t already taken courses myself through Learning Herbs and already know the quality of their programs.  As I mentioned, I have taken several of their courses and can’t say enough good stuff about them. The courses are always full of amazing content, they giveaway so many extras and freebies, they are a good value, and it’s a small family run business with great customer service. =)