Starting next week, it's the end of an era for old style light bulbs.

A federal ban on incandescent bulbs goes into effect Jan. 1, 2014, meaning consumers will be forced to purchase compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs),

In 2007, the federal Conservative government announced the old light bulbs would be gradually phased out. Yet, several years later, it seems most people, including Saskatoon resident Michelle Lewis-Robertson, still don't know what to do with compact fluorescent lights when they break or burn out.

"We throw them in the garbage," Lewis-Robertson said. "I would honestly like to know where to put them because I honestly do have some under my sink. It would be a good thing to know." 

CFLs are designed to use much less power than incandescent bulbs. However, people like Angie Bugg, energy conservation coordinator at the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, are concerned because the new compact fluorescent lights are full of mercury, which is highly toxic.

"When you think about the number of lamps that people are buying, and how many of these are being disposed of over time, that actually starts to add up to a substantial amount of a toxic material that we're putting into our landfills," Bugg said.

Disposing of CFLs in Sask.

There are places that take CFLs, but you have to know where to look. In Saskatoon, you can drop them off during City's Hazardous Waste Days.

In Regina, K-Light Recycling and Crown Shred and Recycling take CFLs. A number of big box retailers, like London Drugs, Rona and Lowe's take them as well.

There are others options for people who want to avoid CFLs entirely, including LED bulbs. They're even more efficient than compact fluorescence and they don't contain mercury.