The end of incandescent light bulbs | Final part |

Last week we were looking at the progressive phasing out of incandescent light bulbs.


The most wasteful and polluting bulbs are removed progressively until 2016.


As of September the 1st, the classic incandescent bulbs will no longer be manufactured or imported into the European Union (EU). And will not be the only ones. Its manufacturing will continue until September 2016 with the phasing out of the other models which waste more energy to be substituted by more efficient models.


Savings up to 10,000 million Euros per year.

The Community institutions responsible for this measure, intends to reduce high energy consumption for lighting and  its environmental impact, and incidentally save up to 10,000 million Euros per year, up to 50 Euros per household. In this article I will outline the models bulbs which no longer can be manufactured, explains why they are withdraw and specify the most efficient models which will replace them.


Therefore, the objective of the European institutions is its gradual replacement by the so called "low energy light bulbs", which include several models, such as saving halogen, fluorescent and low consumption LED. This type of efficient lighting uses between 50% and 90% less energy than an incandescent bulb producing the same amount of light.


LED bulbs have a lifespan of up to 25,000 hours.

Another advantage is its durability. The LED bulbs have a lifespan of up to 25,000 hours and fluorescent between 7,000 and 12,000 hours.

These light bulbs can achieve, according to estimates by the European Union that an average household save up to 15% on electricity bills, a net savings of 25-50 Euros a year (plus your purchase included) depending on family size and the type and number of bulbs you use.


Thanks to new energy efficiency requirements, EU officials estimate that from 2020 these bulbs will save the EU over 40,000 million kilowatt hours per year, equivalent to the electricity consumption of 11 million European households during the same period. In monetary figures, it is estimated that the EU will save between 5,000 and 10,000 million Euros a year.


In addition to significant energy and cost savings, represent a significant reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), involved in climate change. The EU will cease to issue up to 15 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year dioxide, not to mention the considerable reduction in waste generation.


The role of consumers.

Changing a light bulb may seem an insignificant measure, but if all citizens did just that, the savings and the reduction on CO2 to the environment will be significant. According to the American Institute of Land Policy, dedicated to promoting sustainable development, if all countries changed incandescent light bulbs, the fall of global electricity use would permit the closing of more than 270 five hundred megawatts (MW) coal power plants.


According to the organization, the main challenge is to make consumers aware that switching to energy saving light bulbs significantly reduces monthly electricity bills and cut GHG emissions. Moreover, citizens can also claim the institutional leaders to act with measures to support this change.


The responsibilities of consumers not just end with the purchase of light bulbs. Although last longer, when melted should be recycled. Thus, materials such as glass, metal, plastic and mercury are recovered and prevent contamination, especially the most dangerous, such as mercury based ones. The Association for the recycling of lamps (Ambilamp) encourages citizens to deposit their bulbs used in any of its more than 9,000 collection points throughout Spain.


Low energy light bulbs can be recycled in most town in Spain in what it is called "Clean Points" or Eco Poin (Puntos Limpiosor Eco Punto)  check for your nearest one by calling your local town Hall.


Collection points are also available in some stores  so rather than make a special trip to the Eco Point, you can now dispose of your old low energy bulbs whilst you're shopping. Check the store locator to find your nearest collection point. Other stores that accept low energy light bulbs include Ikea Corte Inglés etc.


How can businesses dispose of them?

Businesses or organisations that use fluorescent tubes should contact their local authority for advice on how to dispose of them safely. Under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations fluorescent lamps are covered by “producer responsibility” and you can ask your supplier to arrange for recycling of old lamps. 


Old style incandescent bulbs are not recyclable.  Please throw them away in your waste bin so don't be tempted to recycle your old light bulbs with your glass bottles and jars. They are made from a different type of glass and also contain metal parts.


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