EU Officially Bans Incandescent Light Bulb

by Tim Fulton on October 15, 2008

Image: kaibara87

I hate to say it, but I’ve been sick and therefore a little behind on bringing you some of the more exciting bits of news floating around recently. However, I thought this was just to interesting to pass up. The other day we learned that the EU finally made a ban on incandescent light bulbs official policy. This ban came up last year, but hadn’t been acted upon until now.

When I first heard about the ban, frankly, I was a little skeptical that it would come to fruition. Perhaps I am too used to American-style policy making that seems to revolve around endless posturing and political trade-offs, but I’m nevertheless excited to see this ban going into effect.

The ban will come into effect in 2010 and will force a large number of people to make the switch to CFLs and possibly LEDs further down the line. CFLs cost quite a bit more than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they also last longer and only use a small fraction of the energy. The EU hopes to reduce energy consumption related to lighting 60% with the ban, which should help many countries in the overall goal to cut carbon emissions.

As I’ve talked about before, bans are not always the best solution for environmental problems, but I think in this case they’re appropriate. CFLs have been on the market for quite a while, are well known by most consumers, and do not create an ever-present inconvenience. A ban may still seem a bit harsh to some people, but in the end, I think, action is better than inaction and economic incentives to purchase CFLs (which tend to only be a few dollars each anyway) will be largely ineffectual.

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1 groar October 15, 2008 at 6:03 pm

In French stores there is always 5 times more incandescent bulbs than CFL, and LED are always rare.

Several companies and hotel chains have attempted the switch to CFL during last years. The conclusion is that they were stolen rather quickly and so cost a lot more.

This ban may also permit to initiate more research on CFL and LED and lead to more choices in stores.

At home my lightning bill has been divided by more than 4 🙂


2 Simon October 24, 2008 at 4:41 am

Hmmmm so this will no doubt mean that until LED become more widely known about and cheaper etc that there will be a huge increase in mercury pollution!!!!!

Not sure how good a trade off this really is!!

3 GSG December 25, 2008 at 8:54 pm

While I do use CFLs, standard tube fluorescents, and LEDs in most applications, there are several applications which don’t work at all well for the new bulbs. One example of these is motion-sensor security lights.
Until there are bulbs for all applications, I am rather cautious about being pleased with such over-all bans.
In the meantime, I am stocking up on the bulbs I believe will be unavailable but which I require for special industrial and safety applications.

4 Uncle B January 18, 2009 at 11:24 am

Converted to CFLs as fast as I could, years ago! Most of the original CFL’s are still working well! Our power bills are much lower, and we have “acclimated” to the light from CFL’s so much that when visiting folks still using incandescents, we find them too bright and very yellow and “unnatural”! We love the savings, and still shut lights off when not in use to conserve power. One day when solar, wave and wind sources are a reality and nuclear waste products a horror of the past, mankind will look back at his folly and see it as we see the steam age now!

5 Joshua August 22, 2009 at 11:02 pm

I wish the federal government would stop micromanaging in our life’s and let us pick what light bulbs we want to use in our homes. Only a far-left loon would say this is a good idea.

6 Uncle B August 24, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Dear Joshua, Think this way, Install LED’s in your house, put Solar cells on your roof, Put a rechargeable battery in your cellar, and never ever pay a lighting bill again, as long as you live, and pass this savings onto your children these thing last forever! This is so currently possible! Fvck “The Man” right up his tender spot! and enjoy a free ride! from modern technologies and Science! Want another bite of his cheeks? Install passive solar heating, ground-heat storage, and super-insulation in a smaller, practical sized home, and never pay heating/cooling bills again! Engineering is currently in use and available to those not blinded by McMansions, to do just that! and, once engineered in, it lasts forever! Goddamn! This is sweet! another free ride thanks to good engineering! Coming soon! A piece right off “The Man’s” knob! goddammit! I mean it! mIT has a solar cell like device that gives free fuel from the sun! It exists today! Put one of these boxes in the sun, like on your roof, and get a free supply of very burnable H2,O2, which is storeable at low pressures for up to weeks at a damn time! Now go piss in a bottle, and make h2,O2 this same fuel with 1/4th the electricity it used to take! This is new this year! and it works! Look for these modern miracles on the net! See for yourself! Still not happy? Try this: Aquaponics at home! grows veggies and fish, each eating the others poop! and both feeding you! Some guys are selling fish and greens to restaurants, grown this way! They don’t even have farms for the ‘Man” to tax! Love, ya Joshua, Hang in there man! there is hope!

7 Mike December 1, 2010 at 6:25 pm

The “EU Officially Bans Incandescent Light Bulb”, it is phasing them out. It’s Dec 2010 and they can still be bought in the stores.

CFL’s are disposed of through a reclamation program to keep the mercury out of the waste dumps.

Incandescent light bulbs are still needed in unheated areas and where light is only needed for a few minutes, such as in a walk thru hallway, garage and outdoor fixtures.

I use all types of light sources in my home here in Germany. The LED’s that are available are really low light and do not have a white light, usually a shade of blue. I use them with halogens in the same fixture so they balance out while still saving electricity. Florescents are used where ever the lights remain on for an extended period.

Will I ever install a solar collector and a row of batteries in my basement and wire the house for 12 volts? No, the idea is to save money not change my source of where I get my electricity. And what do I do with the batteries when they expire?

Want to save a bit more? Clean your windows and draw back the curtains fully so the entire window is exposed

If you want to save the world start by downsizing your electrical use. Smaller bulbs, power outlet strips with an off switch for all those instant on appliances and best of all find the off switch. Before buying a new large screen TV check it’s power usage.

What you do determines what your power usage will be. Energy conservation is about keeping your bucks in your pocket, not about biting someone else in the ass!

Keep it clean, limit your usage and do the best you can.

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