Bio friendly products

So much of what Progressives seek for us is a return to the less than lovely and easy parts of the past.  For example, in the greenie world, who needs warm, efficient, useful incandescent light bulbs?  How much better if we bathe the environment in love by using light bulbs that would have been familiar in the 1920s:  buzzy, weak, ugly light, unreliable and, as an added 21st century bonus, filled with toxic mercury.

And pity the poor people in Washington state, forced by law to use dish washing liquids that don’t actually wash dishes.  Woo-hoo!

The quest for squeaky-clean dishes has turned some law-abiding people in Spokane into dishwater-detergent smugglers. They are bringing Cascade or Electrasol in from out of state because the eco-friendly varieties required under Washington state law don’t work as well. Spokane County became the launch pad last July for the nation’s strictest ban on dishwasher detergent made with phosphates, a measure aimed at reducing water pollution. The ban will be expanded statewide in July 2010, the same time similar laws take effect in several other states.

But it’s not easy to get sparkling dishes when you go green.

Many people were shocked to find that products like Seventh Generation, Ecover and Trader Joe’s left their dishes encrusted with food, smeared with grease and too gross to use without rewashing them by hand. The culprit was hard water, which is mineral-rich and resistant to soap.

In addition to the CFL light bulbs peppering my house (buzz, buzz, buzz, to the point where I’m thinking of making an aluminum helmet because I’m beginning to think the Martians are trying to talk to me), I’ve had yet another irritating brush with bio-friendly products.  This time the culprit is paper towel made from recycled materials, a binge buy by Mr. Bookworm who takes very seriously every global warming column written by that well-known scientist Tom Friedman, of the New York Times.  (What?!  You’re telling me Friedman isn’t a scientist?  I’m shocked!  Shocked!  I heard he was a top ranked graduate of the Algore School of Boiling Frogs.)

Anyway, paper towel.  Since Mr. Bookworm shopped at Costco, he didn’t just get one or three or four rolls of recycled paper towel, he got 24.  My cupboards are packed with the stuff.  The only consolation is that I’m going through the rolls of towel at warp speed . . . BECAUSE THEY DON’T WORK! A spill that would have taken one standard paper towel takes me five or six of these earth friend towels.  They have no absorption, they fall apart at the lightest touch, and they’re so poorly perforated that, even when I try to rip small, I end up getting big.  They remind me very much of the Soviet era toilet paper I suffered through during a long-ago trip to Czechoslovakia.  In other words, they’re a completely regressive product that offsets any “earth friendly” virtues by being completely useless and functional only if used in vast and wasteful quantities.

All of which allows you to get a little insight into the average Progressive family’s green home:  They don’t have flush toilets, creating the risk of disease and uncontrolled waste pollution; they have Soviet era paper products, that are not just unpleasant but have to be used to wasteful quantities to work; they have light bulbs that self-destruct so quickly they’re essentially landfill, except for that toxic mercury problem;, and, if they live in Washington state or are simply committed greenies, their dishes emerge from the dishwasher so dirty that they require vast amounts of water to offset the “green” detergent’s inefficiencies.

Given that so many of the “green” products “progressives” tout (or mandate) are so inefficient that they are a throwback to a less comfortable past and are vastly wasteful, it’s obvious that, for a “progressive greenie,” cognitive dissonance is a way of life.

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  • Ymarsakar

    Given that so many of the “green” products “progressives” tout (or mandate) are so inefficient that they are a throwback to a less comfortable past and are vastly wasteful, it’s obvious that, for a “progressive greenie,” cognitive dissonance is a way of life.

    Think again.

    Could the Leftists sustain their powerful control based upon the justification of “necessity” if their “solutions” actually made the environment cleaner and better? No, how could they ask for “Emergency Measures” and “Civil-Liberty Restrictions” and “Climate Laws” if the environment was squeaky clean? They could not justify it then.

    Which is why they must first wreck the environment and sustain the environmental pollution, Book. So that they can justify putting more of their agenda into effect.

    This is not cognitive dissonance. This is called Power 101, and not the electricity variant.

    If a few people must be sacrificed, that’s perfectly fine with the Democrat party. They sacrificed a whole lot more than a “few” in Vietnam. They have no problems with such, they feel no guilt, their consciences are as unburdened as a newborn babe’s.

  • Ymarsakar

    To the Left, “Progress” is a means to an end, meaning they are not supporting progress in order to accomplish the goals of the human species. They are supporting progress because it is an end in itself, for it justifies any and all atrocities the Left considers “necessary” for the “progress” of humanity.

  • Ymarsakar

    “Progress” is a means to an end,

    Correction, is not a means to an end.

  • 11B40


    I’m a printer by trade. For the last 20 years or so, the industry has been making its “green” contribution via recycled printing papers. When the papers first began showing up they had the cutest little speckles of various colors that effectively mimic-ed bad printing. Additionally, the re-used paper fibers lacked the stiffness of virgin fibers which helped printers of all stripes perfect their ability to feed garbage stock through their presses. Oh, and did I forget to mention that all these recycled papers were more expensive than the real stuff which did nothing to help the industry’s shrinking profit margins. But the real kicker is that there was never any shortage of trees to make proper paper.

    Environmentalism – religion disguised as science.

  • Ymarsakar

    A cult disguise as mankind’s salvation through science.

  • Ellen

    I vaguely remember that high phosphate detergents were a big villain back in the 70s, when green thinking first reared its head.

    The powers that be where I work want us to turn off everything (that is, unplug all the cords) every weekend. That would take a lot of time and trouble, and I can’t help but think the savings would be minimal. We turn all the computers, printers, copiers etc off as it is.

    But at least we are doing it for The Children.

  • Bill Smith

    I have always wondered about the wisdom of making all these things biodegradable. We take thousands of different products largely composed of various exotic organic chemical combinations (plastics, e.g.) designed to break down in the landfill. Has anybody done a study of what fun new exotic (toxic?) organic chemicals get formulated unintentionally in this mess over time? And, what is the virtue of having something in a landfill degrade anyway? It’s buried! Who cares if it remains chemically exactly as it was the day it was manufactured? At least we’ll know what it is!

    Now, I last took Organic Chemistry 40 years ago, and am perfectly willing to be told I’m all wet on this, but, why do we do this random, chaotic mixing of organic chemicals again? If somebody buried the raw material — oil — of most of this stuff they’d be drawn and quartered, so why do we WANT this stuff to break down again?

  • Deana

    I thought I was the only who believed the biodegradable dishwasher soap was useless! It leaves thick gray streaks and spots on the glassware and actual food bits on the plates.

    And the “paper towels?” I’m convinced it has NO ability to absorb anything – it just shoves around whatever liquid you have spilled on the countertop or floor and you’ll use 10 sheets to do just that.

    It made me realize that greenies don’t care about effectiveness – they just love the feeling good about themselves.

  • David Foster

    You can be certain that people with proper political connections will be able to get the better-working but non-“green” products. For example, there will probably be a special “artistic exemption” allowing you to have incandescent bulbs in your home *if* your home is judged to have “special artistic merit” in terms of its artwork and furnishings.

    We are headed back to the “sumptuary codes” of the medieval and Renaissance eras, in which the clothing and other possessions you were allowed to own were strictly regulated as a function of your social class.

  • Bookworm

    Well, you all gave me what I expected: witty, insightful, practical and otherwise just great comments. I especially appreciate Bill’s point about landfill. I’ve never understood what the big deal is about landfill, as long as the stuff doesn’t degrade into something toxic. Who cares if the beautiful green hill has rocks and dirt underneath it or mounds of stuff that was once organic but was changed in shape through human ingenuity? As long as it’s not toxic, it’s still a beautiful green hill? What am I missing?

  • skell

    Ah yes, toxic mercury. Remember how upset environmentalists were in the 1970s about people eating fish with high mercury levels? Apparently it’s OK to include it in easily-breakable light bulbs, though.


    I was at Office Max this weekend hunting for acid-free paper (to copy some hard-to-find old monographs that I need for my research); paper with any recycled content is high-acid and has a shelf life of about 18 months before it turns brown and brittle, which means it’s useless for anything you want to keep long-term.

    I finally located four reams of acid-free laser copy paper at the back of a shelf; when I was at the check-out counter, the clerk said very pointedly, “you know we carry recycled paper, don’t you?”


    Guess I’ll have to start stockpiling acid-free paper before it’s outlawed completely.

  • skell

    It’s interesting, in a sick sort of way, to watch the environmentalist agenda eliminate the range of consumer choices both by legislative regulatory mechanisms (the Washington state phosphate detergent ban) and by social disciplining (“What, you don’t buy recycled paper? You’re a bad person!”).

    Most of the paper I buy for personal use is at least partially recycled; it’s cheap, readily available, and I don’t keep what I’ve printed for any length of time so its short shelf life doesn’t matter.

    Every once in a while I use non-recycled paper, however, and it’s great to be able to get that when I need it.

    Thinking about it, I realize that the household goods I buy are a mix of “green” products and standard brands. I like being able to pick and choose; I purchase according to function, price, availability and whim (“gee, this smells good”), not ideological agenda (or so I like to think).

    Reducing someone else’s options one brand at a time whether they like it or not: it’s the Green Thing to do. Pretty soon there’ll be just one government-approved generic brand for everything (remember the big cans of food in “Repo Man” that were labelled ‘FOOD’??).

  • suek

    I don’t know if I’ve mentioned here that we own a lighting store. We sell light bulbs. Mostly, just light bulbs, though we can order fixtures from multiple companies. Actually, we do a fair amount of fixture ordering, since a lot of our customers are home owner associations. They may have bought some large number of major light fixtures some number of years ago, and then when someone backs into one and takes it out, they want to replace _one_, not the whole batch, so they want it to match the other howevermany. Our job then is to identify the manufacturer and the model, and then try to get a new one just like the old one. Given the merging of many companies and shutting down of companies, it gets to be a trick. But mostly, we sell lightbulbs. All sorts of weird ones that you can’t get at Home Depot, Lowes, Costco, or the local hardware store.
    Naturally, we sell lots of fluorescents – both the old standards and the new ones. It makes sense to use fluorescents in many circumstances, but there are times and places where it doesn’t. Some of the factors are: need to dim, frequent on/off cycles, flood/spot requirement, or just size. The amount of light given off by a fluorescent is determined by its gas volume…the higher the wattage, the bigger the volume needs to be. I can get you a 100 watt fluorescent screw-in spiral…it’s roughly equivalent to 400 watts incandescent, and is abour 15 inches long and about 4 inches in diameter. Needs a _big_ fixture!
    So far, every dimming screw-in bulb that has come out for commercial use has been off the market within a year. They’re very expensive, and don’t perform as expected – so they take them back off the market. Likewise, there are problems with using photo cells – there are two kinds of photo cells – one uses an on/off device, the other uses a dimming mechanism, which means it will kill your bulb in a relatively short time. There is no information on photocells to indicate which you have. If you have a fluorescent on a motion sensor and frequent traffic, the frequent on/off cycle will kill the bulb in a relatively short time. Life of the bulb is based on a minimum 3 hour burn time, each time the bulb is turned on. If you use reflector bulbs, incandescent bulbs are available as flood and spots. You can choose according to your need. Reflector fluorescents are floods only. So far, there is no way to concentrate the beam of a fluorescent to perform a spot function.

    I haven’t mentioned color. Normally, if we ask a first time customer what color fluorescent they want, they give us a blank stare and say “white”. (they _don’t_ say “you idiot”, but you can see them thinking it!) Light color is measured in Kelvin temperature. The color of the light is measured by comparing it to steel heated to the same color. with the temperature expressed in Kelvin degrees. Most office fluorescents are cool white – 4100 kelvin. Most incandescents are called warm white – about 2700 degrees kelvin. If you check out your screw in fluorescents, you’ll find a color designation somewhere …sometimes it actually says “827” or some such, sometimes it’s 27k, 2700k, or a color description – warm white, cool white, soft white, daylight – that sort of thing. If you don’t like the color of your bulbs, you need to find out what color it is so you can change to what you like. Most bulbs are now available in colors ranging from 27k to 65K – which is true daylight, and almost bluewhite. Most people don’t like it, but it’s good in the kitchen and garage or other work areas. Bad in living areas – for most people. The colors available are usually 27k, 30k, 35k, 41, 5000k, and 65k. 5k and 65k are both considered “daylight” and “full spectrum” – though that’s another whole discussion. There’s also “color rendering” – another separate discussion.

    Bearing all of this in mind, it makes sense to use CFs in some places – where you need general area light and use the lights for long periods of time – and incandescents in other places – bathrooms, for example, are probably good places to use an incandescent. Normally, the use is short – as long as you train the kids to turn off the lights when they’re not being used! When you have special applications, you may need an incandescent. Many of the standard incandescents are being “outlawed” – at least in California, where our legislators never saw a facet of human activity they didn’t want to regulate in some way – but they’re still favoring halogens – which are just a different type of incandescents – so you may be able to substitute. They’re more expensive, but have a longer life. Probably not long enough to justify the price, but longer.

    Enough. More than you wanted to know.

  • Bookworm

    Fascinating, suek. I had no idea.

  • Mike Devx


    Do you have information on the longevity of halogen “bulbs” when they are frequently turned on and off? (Frequently being, say, ten times per day)

    Also, my halogen lamp is the usual “dimmer” style, where I don’t have to have it blazing fully away when I don’t need it. Do you know the longevity effect of using halogens on their internal dimmer switch?

    Also, I measured the energy use of my halogen bulb compared to a typical small five-incandescent-bulb “chandelier” in my dining room. The single halogen lamp seemed to use approximately the same energy as the five-bulb chandelier AND still gave off more light. Does that match your experience? Am I wrong about the energy usage compared to the better result? Is there anything significantly wasteful about halogen lamps that I’m missing?

  • Ymarsakar

    Now, I last took Organic Chemistry 40 years ago, and am perfectly willing to be told I’m all wet on this, but, why do we do this random, chaotic mixing of organic chemicals again? If somebody buried the raw material — oil — of most of this stuff they’d be drawn and quartered, so why do we WANT this stuff to break down again?

    Once the material breaks down and gets into the underground water supply, it’s all over.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Problem is (if problem is the right word) that materials really don’t break down in landfills – no air, no light, no bacteria. So, actually, they are pretty inert.

  • suek

    Halogen lights on dimmers are no problem. Halogens are incandescents which use halogen gas instead of whatever traditional bulbs use. As a result, they burn hotter and whiter. I don’t understand why they have a longer life (actually I do sort of, but you really don’t want to hear it), but typically, their life is about 2000 to 2500 hours, as compared to 750 to 1500 hours for the standard incandescent. (unless you use a 130 volt bulb in a 120volt system – which most of us have. That will triple the life of the bulb, but lessens the light output by about 8-10%, and appears slightly yellower) Halogens give off some factor of greater light for the same wattage – that is 20w halogen gives off the same light as maybe 30-40 watt standard incandescent. That’s why the environmentalists like them…you can use fewer watts for the same output. You pretty much have to compare them by using the manufacturer’s lumen output for each – or personal satisfaction. On/off is no problem either, although I’ve been told that eventually frequent on/off will shorten the life somewhat. Supposedly there was an incandescent bulb in some inaccessible spot in the Metropolitan Opera House with no on/off switch that burned 24/7/365 from 1916 until sometime in 1916 or so until the 1960s. I haven’t checked that in Snopes!

    >>Is there anything significantly wasteful about halogen lamps that I’m missing?>>

    No…but…Keep your mitts off them! Except for the ones with a tube inside that is enveloped in a glass outside envelope, most halogens are _quartz_ halogens. The particular chemical make up of the quartz that forms the envelope is porous, and will absorb the oil from your fingers. The high heat of the bulb causes the envelope to heat unevenly, which causes the filament to heat unevenly, which causes early burnout. They’re more expensive than standard incandescents, so you really don’t want them to burn out any more frequently than possible. You can avoid the problem either by using something in your hand to avoid contact – kleenex, rubber gloves, napkin – or clean them off with rubbing alcohol when you have them in place.

    As for the chandelier question…I have no idea. How many watts was each? If the 5 smalls were 15w each, that’s 75 w total. If your halogen was 50w, I’d expect it to be roughly equal in light output, but use less energy. If it was 75w, then it would use the same energy and be brighter. You have to compare the numbers…also the voltage each is designed for.

  • David Foster

    suek is probably already aware of this, but for others…GE has been working on an incandescent bulb which is 2X (potentially 4X) more efficient than the existing ones…not quite up there with the CFLs, but also without the color and form-factor probems of CFLs. Unfortunately, it seems quite possible that this technology will be strangled in its crib by legislation banning incandescents.

  • suek

    I read somewhere of a new process in the experimentation process that uses some form of UV light that when applied to plastics converts them back to oil. Now _that’s_ COOL! Supposedly it has been successful in the lab, and now they’re trying to make one that is commercially applicable.

  • spiff580

    On the subjects of “biodegradable” and landfills:

    Everything is biodegradable; the key is how long it takes. 😉

    There is a lot that goes into the design of landfills; check out this link if you’re interested:

    Landfills are designed to be self contained so that toxic chemicals and byproducts will not leak into the outlying area, ground water, etc. Also, a major byproduct of the landfills is methane gas. Many landfills tap the gas to use for energy.

    Many old and abandoned landfills are “reclaimed” and used for other purposes such as golf courses, office building sites, methane gas collection facilities, etc.

    If I remember correctly, Mike Rowe worked at a landfill on an episode of Dirty Jobs. It was quite informative.


  • Bill Smith

    Well, I feel a lot better about landfills. Thanks Spiff, and Danny.

    Nobody has mentioned LEDs. Hollywood is rapidly transitioning to using flat panels of LEDs to light their productions, and color temperature is hugely important to them, as it is to me — I’m a photographer.

    Also, we all know that municipalities, and commercial vehicles have switched over to LEDs for traffic lights, and brake lights. IMO they have CFLs beat every which way, and I cannot figure out why THEY aren’t being pushed. Brightness is no longer a problem as it once was. I carry always a small, one battery Surefire LED flashlight that is literally blindingly bright on its high setting:

    Surely LEDs could be adapted for direct replacement of incandescents, so why aren’t they?

  • roylofquist

    Best putdown of environmentalists EVAH!

    George Carlin:

  • eric-odessit

    Do you sell LED light bulbs? If not, why do you think LEDs are not sold as much or more than CFL? They should be much more efficient and safe.

  • Zhombre

    SueK: I read about an experimental form of UV which if shined long enough on liberals will turn them into conservatives, and even if it doesn’t, it annoys the hell out of them.


    This seems like the right place to share this tidbit, since I have always considered the UN to be an exposed toxic landfill and never short of another ‘light bulb’ moment. Of course, they work with nothing higher than a 5-watt night light bulb.

    Copenhagen: Environmental Munich

    By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, March 27, 2009 4:20 PM PT

    Climate: Czech President Vaclav Klaus once called global warming a new religion, a Trojan horse for imposing a global tyranny worse than communism. Details about the Copenhagen Conference prove how right he was.

    The first of three marathon negotiating sessions designed to hammer out the details of the Copenhagen Accord on climate change to be signed in December began on Sunday, March 29, in Bonn, Germany. From what we know, it will be a surrender to tyranny as significant as another negotiated 71 years ago.

    A 16-page informational note obtained by Fox News outlines the goals and agenda of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a body paving the way to Copenhagen with good intentions. Behind this alphabet soup is a list of ideas and talking points for what the U.N. calls an “ambitious and effective international response to climate change.”

    We’re not sure how effective it will be, but it’s certainly ambitious as it seeks to reorder the world economy in a de facto repeal of the Industrial Revolution. Under the supervision of the U.N., free trade would die, industries that survived could be relocated across borders, and we would have mandatory carbon offsets and cap-and-trade imposed on a global scale.

    Part of the “framework” of this new and more draconian Kyoto pact is a new kind of tariff known as a “border carbon adjustment” that the note describes as “a levy on imported goods equal to that which would have been imposed had they been produced domestically.” In other words, if the exporting country does not impose a carbon tax, the importing country will.

    Another form of “adjustment” is to require exporters to “buy (carbon) offsets at the border equal to that which the producer would have been forced to purchase had the goods been produced domestically.” Imagine the U.N. forcing American exporters to buy carbon offsets.

    Under this global climate regime, tariffs would be allowed “as protective barriers to shelter producers of climate-friendly goods.” The note endorses subsidies for producers of goods that are deemed “environmentally sound.” Protection goes green. Who knew Mr. Smoot and Mr. Hawley were environmentalists?

    The document speaks of a “climate change levy” on maritime shipping and aviation that is certain to devastate foreign trade and tourism. The American aviation industry had revenues of $208 billion in 2008. Unless we can come up with a hybrid 747 real quick, there’s trouble ahead.

    There is talk of signatories implementing cap-and-trade policies that the note admits “would involve negative consequences for the implementing country.” Such policies “may induce some industrial relocation . . . to less-regulated host countries.” Gee, ya think?

    The Obama administration supports a domestic cap-and-trade policy and included it in its deficit-creating budget proposal. As we’ve noted, cap and trade, through its limit on total carbon emissions, is really a cap on economic growth. An analysis by the George C. Marshall Institute estimates GDP losses of as much as 3% in 2015 and as much as 10% in 2050 as a result of this measure

    The effect of this accord if we participate is incalculable. According to the Department of Energy, roughly 72% of U.S. electrical power generation in 2007 was derived from burning fossil fuels. Some 6% came from hydropower and less than 3% came from solar, wind and “other” sources.

    Writing in the Financial Times recently, Czech President Vaclav Klaus said: “As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not communism.”

    Klaus told the Cato Institute recently that “environmentalism is a religion” that accepts global warming on faith and seeks to exploit it to reshape the world and economic social order.

    Its commandments are now being written. The U.N. will be its temple and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon its high priest.

  • spiff580

    I don’t know much about LED’s except that they use a lot less energy than regular light bulbs. I plan to replace all my Christmas lights with the LED type: a little more expensive upfront, but apparently they can save you a ton of money during the Christmas season (more money for presents for the kids).

    I personally like the CFL bulbs. For the most part they work. The only gripe I have is that you usually have to go one or two sizes larger than the equivalent incadescent to get the same amount of light (i.e. a 100 watt equivalent CFL puts out about the same light as a 60-watt incandescent). At least that’s my opinion.

    I broke a CFL in my garage once. I just picked it up and threw it in the trash. But that was before I knew what a sin that was. Based on what I have read and understand, the amount of Mercury in a single CFL is not enough to pose a health risk if you break one in your house. As with everything, the Health/Eco Nazis are exaggerating the threat. The unintended consequence of this issue is the accumulated Mercury of millions of dead CFL’s in landfills, etc. Who knows?

    My guess, the state will come up with an un-enforceable law that requires people to dispose of CFL’s through some special process or program, kind of like we do with batteries (which I still toss in the trash by the way).


  • suek

    LEDs are extremely efficient and have extremely long lives. Also extremely expensive at this point. Whether you use them depends on how and why. Your flashlight, for instance…extremely bright when you try to look directly into it, but how far across the street will it pick up details? The question is how far they project the light. Additionally, it takes quite a lot of them to equal the light output of the incandescents. We’ve had samples that were supposed to replace a 45w Par lamp (halogen, 5 inch face, hard glass). They don’t do the job – imo – and cost about $45 each. If you hold them up and shine them on a flat surface 10 feet away, you get a lightening of the surface, but not much more. The halogen has enough candle power to see a definite bright area. On the other hand, we have stick-ups for under counter use, and some linear undercounter fixtures that are great – because the counter is only about 3 ft below the LED. The cost is prohibitive for most people – the linears are about $60 for about 12 inches. The stick ups are good deals, though. Operate on batteries.
    We can get rope lighting with LEDs in them – if you hold the rope perpendicular to your face, the lights are extremely bright. If you turn them so that the rope is parallel to your face, not especially bright.
    The concept of “flood” and “spot” beam spread is out of the question so far.

    As for safe…I don’t know. No mercury, I suppose, but I have no idea what manufacturing requires. Heat buildup seems to be about the same as CFs of the same approximate light output. So far, in spite of the cost, manufacturers don’t want to guarantee them, apparently because they require drivers (similar to a transformer, I think) and the bulb manufacturers and driver manufacturers can’t get together on how long each other’s product should work. Or something. At least, that’s what I’m told.

    >>…the state will come up with an un-enforceable law that requires people to dispose of CFL’s through some special process or program>>


    As a commercial site, we are required to recycle flourescents. We’re allowed a certain weight per quarter, and anything over that we have to pay for. It runs about .25 per foot. Most customers prefer to take care of it themselves. They’re supposed to recycle them, but it’s not our responsibilty. If they’re broken, by the way, they can’t be recycled. Just for your info.

  • Bill Smith

    AHA! I found it. I didn’t mention this site earlier, but I remembered seeing it once, so here it is:

    Here’s another with more variety (just scroll past the $1300 streetlight bulbs):

    I think these are the way to go, but will remain spendy until the sales volume increases. I think I’ll dive in at the $30 — $50 range and see how it glows.

  • pst314

    “Now, I last took Organic Chemistry 40 years ago, and am perfectly willing to be told I’m all wet on this, but, why do we do this random, chaotic mixing of organic chemicals again? If somebody buried the raw material — oil — of most of this stuff they’d be drawn and quartered, so why do we WANT this stuff to break down again?”

    I believe that the plastics are so radically transformed that they are no longer toxic. Nearly all of them are also not biodegradable, so if we develop ways to degrade them the toxicity will depend on what chemicals they degrade into. But I’m betting that these processes will be accomplished using a combination of genetically engineered bacteria and alterations to the chemistry of the plastics. (We want these plastics to degrade only when we want them to.)

    I don’t have any sort of chemistry degree, so take all this with a grain of salt. Or a beer. (Ah, fermentation: my favorite biodegradation process.)

  • Tonestaple

    Back to the paper issue for just a second, because the light bulb discussion has been highly educational: Everyone should know that paper is not made from old growth forests. Paper does not despoil the earth. For the most part, the trees that are used in paper manufacturing are grown for the purpose of making paper; the loggers refer to them as pulpwood. If they are cutting/carrying logs for furniture or lumber, they call it logs. There are “forests” all over the southeast that were planted to grow pulpwood to feed the paper mills scattered around.

    The big timber companies figured out a long time ago that it was simpler to plant and cut their own trees than to deal with the government, so most trees that are cut were planted for just that purpose. The greenies have made life so unpleasant for anyone who wants to cut in a national forest that it’s just not worth the trouble. Those forests need to be cleaned out from time to time, or it’s “Burn, baby, burn.”

    Also, everyone should know that national FORESTS were intended to be treated like tree farms. The National Forest Service is part of the Department of Agriculture. National PARKS are intended to be preserved and used for recreation. They are under the Department of the Interior. Unfortunately the idiot greens have made this distinction nearly invisible.

  • suek

    I notice that lumen output for the 40W equivalent is 260 lumens. Lumen output for the common 40w/soft white bulb is 490 lumens. That’s a pretty big difference. 50W are uncommon – it looks like the lumen output is about the same as for 40w, but available only in rough service or tough skin. The 60W equiavlent is 446 lumens, while a standard 60W bulb is 840 lumens.

    You’re going to pay them $119.95 for the Geobulb? I’ll sell you an incandescent for .75. Shipping not included.

    They also estimate the life of the incandescent at 1000 hours. That’s close, but I sell a long life bulb that is rated at 130 volts, and when burned at 120 volts, has an estimated life of 15,000 hours. Most screw in CFLs have an estimated life of 8-10,000 hours, not the 2500 hours they estimate.

    But what the hey…go for it! Especially if you _are_ burning those bulbs for 12 hours a day!

  • suek

    Ummm…Bill? You weren’t planning on moving any time soon, were you?

  • Bill Smith


    No, but neither am I planning to solder this one bulb I’m going to buy into one fixture, or….maybe I’m not understanding you. I was in no way putting you, or your business down. As a photographer, I am very, very conscious of light output, and I saw that immediately, but I just want to see what they’re like.

    120 bucks does seem like a lot for an unproven bulb, but that’s if you think of it as a consumable. If you think of them as a durable goods, like a washer, it’s not much — IF they last as promised, and ARE as efficient as promised.

    I also think we’ve all gotten used to very bright ambient light in our homes, when we really only need it for task lighting which LEDs do very well. I think each of us will find our own comfort level, and mix of new and old technology — unless our government forces us otherwise. I’ve spent a lot time living by the warm, low light of oil lamps, and small, bright electric task lights on my sail boat, and it is very, very pleasant. Sorry if I offended somehow.

  • spiff580


    Yeah, I figured California already had a program for CFL’s (I mean I live here and all), it’s just not worth my time and energy to keep up with all the stupid laws and requirements in addition to storing batteries and CFL’s for recycling. If I can’t put it in the green waste or recycling bins, it just goes in the garbage (or the recycling bin if I’m out of room in the garbage can).

    Please don’t destroy the myth that CFL’s save me money. :) I mean, I gotta believe in some myths. Actually, I never really sat down and figured it out, I just took it on faith they saved me money in the long run. But I have noticed the CFL’s don’t last as long as they advertise (5+ years in some cases). Nope, I’ve had to replace a few in less than 2 years; very discouraging. Once again reality and facts destroy another liberal fantasy. That wont change their minds though, it’s the thought that counts.

    As for the timber industry, it’s probably more efficient to plant trees. Placement of trees can be planned to make maximum use of land and more efficient cutting, processing and hauling.

    Penn and Teller did a pretty good show on the timber industry on their show “Bulls#$t”. Those guys absolutely hate environmentalists and liberal wackos. They attack the right as well; their equal opportunity myth debunkers. The show is a little crass, but informative and entertaining. Check it out.


  • David Foster
  • Jeff9

    Save Trees? Save money and the Earth and be clean at the same time! Get serious and add Bathroom Bidet Sprayers to all your bathrooms. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: “if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn’t wipe it off with paper, would you? You’d wash it off” Available at with these you won’t even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! Don’t worry, you can still leave some out for guests and can even make it the soft stuff without felling guilty. It’s cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. You’ll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. And after using one of these you won’t know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. As for water use a drought is always a concern and must be dealt with prudently but please remember that in the big picture the industrial water users always far exceed the water use of household users and in the case of toilet paper manufacture it is huge. The pollution and significant power use from that manufacturing process also contributes to global warming so switching to a hand bidet sprayer and lowering your toilet paper use is very green in multiple ways.

  • Mike Devx

    JeffD, I sure hope you’re kidding!

    >> with these you won’t even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! Don’t worry, you can still leave some out for guests and can even make it the soft stuff without felling guilty.

    I am not using a more-than-slightly-damp guest towel to dry off my private parts, front or back, after the last ten guests have just got done using it!

    And after hanging that towel back on the rack, guest #4 heads over to the finger food table and picks up several tidbits, puts them back down again… picks one up, and says to his honey, “try this”. He puts it between her lips and she eats it, her lips touching his fingers as she does so. Ick.

  • Bill Smith

    Which reminds me of the slogan of a septic tank cleaning business where I live”

    “We’re #1 in the #2 business”

    Definitely a good position to be.

  • suek

    >>Sorry if I offended somehow.>>

    No offense taken. I did want to point out that some of their information seemed to be somewhat misleading. If you know what you’re getting, and you’re willing to pay for it, that’s your choice. No problem. I’ll even look for a good deal for you so I can make a buck or two and make you even happier. What bothers me is when the information is misleading, and in my case, customers are then unhappy because I’ve sold them a product they feel doesn’t live up to it’s promise.

    For example:

    >>I have noticed the CFL’s don’t last as long as they advertise (5+ years in some cases).>>

    I’ve seen 7 years as well. CFLs don’t burn for _years_…they burn for _hours_. If you can find the original label of your 5 year bulb, you’ll find a little * or a little cross next to the name. Very small, very light print. Then if you hunt both sides of the label (you may need a magnifying glass) you’ll find _somewhere_ on the label very very small print in some out of the main part location that says “based on residential use of 3 hours use per day” or some such. If you do the math, you’ll usually find that the expected life is about 8-10 thousand hours. Since that’s an average life, if you get more than 50%, you’ve got all you’re going to get. Theoretically, they test lightbulbs by burning a large number of them in a single setting, and when half have burned out, that’s the “average” life.

    >>Please don’t destroy the myth that CFL’s save me money.>>

    It depends on how you use them and how you count your savings. If you figure Kwh, there’s no question that CFLs will save you money. If you add in the original cost of the bulb plus replacements over time, they probably _still_ save you money. But if you buy cheap brands, use them in closed cans, use dimmers or frequent on/off situations, you’re going to be replacing them at a rate that will make the savings pretty slim if at all. They may still have their uses. One maintenance guy paid $9. each for the first candelabra based CFLs we got because he had a location with a chandelier where he had to put his ladder with two legs on a stair step and have someone hold it steady while he went nearly to the top to replace the bulbs. He didn’t care what they cost if it meant he didn’t have to do that job more than once a year or so.

    When it comes to LEDs, I don’t know. They’re still really expensive, but in some uses – like exit lights – they’ve definitely proven themselves. For other things, they haven’t, but manufacturers are working on them. Their long life is certainly attractive. The chips are silicon so pretty environmentally neutral – but I don’t know how they’re made. We don’t see much environmental cost to CFL manufacture, because they’re virtually all made in China.

    In the end, it’s up to the consumer to determine the particular need and use whatever bulb makes the most sense for that particular purpose. It’s nice we have a choice, but it does mean that you have to educate yourself and rationally _make_ that choice. I’d rather that the consumer makes the choice than the government.

  • Bill Smith

    If Book will send my email address to you, I’d be happy to talk with you. I prefer doing business with someone I know.

  • suek


    You can email me direct … sue at varietylighting dot com…no spaces, of course.

    This link might fit into another thread better, but the enbedded youtube video demonstrates a flashlight we don’t stock!! Very cool!

  • Jeff9

    Mike, I know new ideas are difficult to grasp but please….the towel would be for your private bath not for quests. With guests you still provide toilet paper but it takes allot less to sop up a few water drops than to try to clean up a load of you know what. And it’s much cleaner….unless you have chosen to never watch how many guys fail to wash their hands after going (I have watched, in horror) and then those guys will be out picking over the food, and putting some back down no doubt, at your buffet. Enjoy.

  • Mike Devx


    Yes, I was thinking after I commented that a healthy amount of soap and water takes care of that.

    I also then thought of Sheryl Crow’s thought experiment (?) where we would all be limited to four squares of toilet paper (or be forced to pay for each additional square, with a coin slot I suppose)… and then there was her idea that if you eat in public you will be required to have your own cloth napkins attached to your sleeves. I believe she meant that if you don’t, you won’t be allowed in.

    I still don’t think her reputation has recovered from that little burst of public eco-enthusiasm.

    (And as always remember that such ideas as hers are *not* to be tried locally, nor tried by a business, but rather would be mandated, forced upon us by the national government.)

  • Jeff9

    Soap and water are a nice thing but where does the water come from? Seriously, either you are jumping up on the sink or using the shower, both are inefficient and use more water. The bidet sprayer is more convenient and more efficient. Also men in particular have to be careful and using soap too much because it can remove the natural oils the body needs and cause chafing and cracking of the skin and lead to rectal itch, the sprayer prevents this and can eliminate the problem if it already exists.

  • Mike Devx

    Ye ol’ toilet paper trick, followed by the washing of the hands with soap and water, for me.

  • Bookworm

    What’s fascinating about this conversation is that the Romans wrestled with the same thing. They came up with communal bathrooms, running water under the benches, and sticks with cloth on them for wiping — sticks that everyone shared. Yech!

    Personal hygiene is a chronic human concern, and we know so little about how people handled it in the days before soft toilet paper and easy running water. All we can be certain off is that, as to large parts of human history, we’re better off now.


    The more interesting thing about this entire thread is that everyone had something to add, say, share. Let’s make it 4 dozen posts here and I am calling this one –

    A means to an end. I had heard about these ‘helping hands’ (my use of terms) toilets, but have yet to meet anyone that has or used one.

  • Jeff9

    Those “helping hands” toilets are really a toilet bidet combination and very expensive. You can keep your current toilet and get the benefits this toilet offers by adding a hand bidet sprayer for very little cost. A hand held bathroom bidet sprayer is so much better than a stand alone bidet and this is why: 1. It’s less expensive (potentially allot less) 2.You can install in yourself = no plumber expense 3. It works better by providing more control of where the water spray goes and a greater volume of water flow. 4. It requires no electricity and there are few things that can go wrong with it.