Green Resources Info Service and FAQs
Green Resources Info Service

Green Jean Ponzi is ready to answer your questions
The EarthWays Center's 'Green Jean' Ponzi is at your service with the answers to your sustainable-living questions.
What's "green" about it?
Where can I find it?
What's the most sustainable choice?

Whatever your question, the Garden's sustainable-living experts are at your service!

We can help you:

  • find green products and services
  • evaluate green claims
  • plan your green home or lifestyle project

Contact us today at greenresources@mobot.org or (314) 577-0246.


Green Resources FAQs

Do I have to call the Haz-Mat Unit when I break a fluorescent light bulb?

 NO! That is a myth sadly perpetuated by media hype!  

Here are the safe, sensible, simple steps to handle a broken CFL – compact fluorescent light bulb – in your home.

1.     Open a window or door and leave the room for 10 or 15 minutes. Natural ventilation will dilute and disperse any mercury gas released from the broken bulb.

2.     Sweep up – don’t vacuum - glass and other broken bulb pieces. Air flow from a vacuum cleaner may blow any remaining mercury gas up into breathing space.

3.     If a bulb breaks on carpeting or upholstery, use masking tape to pick up glass bits and wait a little longer to completely vacuum the area.

4.     Use a towel to grasp and unscrew the ballast from the light fixture, to protect your hands from any glass fragments remaining on the ballast.

5.     Wrap all bulb pieces in newspaper or a paper bag and dispose in your landfill trash; recycling programs only accept whole CFL bulbs.

6.     Replace the broken bulb with another energy-efficient CFL – or try an even more efficient LED bulb in your fixture!

Do I have to call the Haz-Mat Unit when I break a fluorescent light bulb?

 NO! That is a myth sadly perpetuated by media hype!  

Here are the safe, sensible, simple steps to handle a broken CFL – compact fluorescent light bulb – in your home.

1.     Open a window or door and leave the room for 10 or 15 minutes. Natural ventilation will dilute and disperse any mercury gas released from the broken bulb.

2.     Sweep up – don’t vacuum - glass and other broken bulb pieces. Air flow from a vacuum cleaner may blow any remaining mercury gas up into breathing space.

3.     If a bulb breaks on carpeting or upholstery, use masking tape to pick up glass bits and wait a little longer to completely vacuum the area.

4.     Use a towel to grasp and unscrew the ballast from the light fixture, to protect your hands from any glass fragments remaining on the ballast.

5.     Wrap all bulb pieces in newspaper or a paper bag and dispose in your landfill trash; recycling programs only accept whole CFL bulbs.

6.     Replace the broken bulb with another energy-efficient CFL – or try an even more efficient LED bulb in your fixture!

Answers provided by:

Jean Ponzi
Green Resources Manager, EarthWays Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden
  Marcus G. Rivas
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Learn more from Marcus "Dr. Detox" Rivas on how to "Detox Your Domicile"
Green To Go: Public Talks

EarthWays Center offers inspiring, interactive one-hour adult-audience virtual presentations. 

Schedule by calling (314) 577-0246 or email greenresources@mobot.org

2020 Virtual Topics

  • The Power of Plants: Natives!
  • Energy in Buildings: Clean, Green, Economical
  • Recycle Responsibly
  • The Dirt on Compost
  • Invasive? Native? Exotic: an Eco-Logical View of Plants
  • Smarter—Greener—Cleaner
  • Monarchs and Mosquitoes
  • Good Green News: Food!
  • Earth's Climate: Facts, Myths, Opportunities
  • Green Means Business!
  • Where is "Away"?
  • Being a Green-savvy Consumer

Download additional information and topic descriptions