Ireland Moves to Ban Icandescent Light Bulbs

By Deane Barker on December 10, 2007

Gormley lights the way with ban on bulbs: This sounds a little harsh, but it needs to happen.

Ireland yesterday became the first country in the world to ban the traditional lightbulb.

Householders will be forced to switch to new long-life low-energy bulbs in 12 months’ time.

New legislation is being introduced banning the sale of the normal incandescent lightbulb from January, 2009.

The incandescent lightbulb must die. Yes, I know the light from CFLs looks a little different. Tough. Saving the world takes sacrifice. Get over it.

What This Links To
What Links Here


  1. I know people may be reluctant to upgrade because of the unnatural color of the “white” light… but… I bought some Philips florescent light tubes that screw onto a regular lightbulb socket. They are marketed by power consumption (i.e. 11W) and equivalent light output (i.e. 60W). I was fascinated by how accurately it matches the standard bulb I had alongside.

  2. Might be a good time to get involved in hazardous waste disposal.

    A foretaste of the delights we can expect in 2009, when the EU makes it compulsory for us to use planet-saving, low-energy light bulbs (CFLs, or Compact Fluorescent Lamps), comes from the website of Bar Harbour, a small town in Maine. Last month Brandy Bridges was inserting a CFL in her seven-year-old daughter’s bedroom, to save on energy bills, when the bulb fell onto the carpet and broke.

    She rang the shop it came from, asking how to dispose of it, She was told that, because it contained mercury, she should ring the Poison Control hotline. They directed her to the Department of Environmental Protection, which immediately sent an official to take mercury readings. Around the carpet they were so high that they instructed her not to clean it up herself but to contact a local contractor, Clean Harbour Environmental Services.

    The firm inspected the bedroom and quoted her a minimum of $2,000 dollars to clean it up and remove the carpet. A month later the child’s bedroom is still sealed off, while Mrs Bridges scrapes together the $2,000 and money to replace the carpet.

  3. Yeah, in addition to the haz-mat issues, I’ve wondered about the savings from a complete life-cycle and raw materials perspective. If you compare a standard bulb to a CFL there is a fairly large difference in the amount of materials and the complexity of manufacturing. Not to mention that they are slightly heavier, packaged in sturdy plastic containers and packed much less efficiently. I think that what we will find out down the road is that there are no silver bullets. When something seems too good to be true…

    Note: While I am somewhat cynical/skeptical about their long-term impact and overall savings (not just my electricity usage), I have probably replaced about half of my lights with CFLs. The fact that I have been using them for a while is also part of my skepticism because a lot of my CFLs are dead after about a year or so of use (not the 5-7 years they want you to think). I’ve actually started dating the bulbs when I put them in so that I can track the duration a little better. Granted, going by date misses the real number of hours being used, etc. but it is disconcerting being faced with disposal issues so soon.

  4. Good idea…The only problem remaining (for me, at least) is their strain on my eyes. Anyways, have anyone ever calculated how much more energy could be saved by eliminating christmas decoration lights on houses etc?

  5. I put in almost all CFLs when I moved into the apartment I’m in (in 2001); and I haven’t had to replace any of them yet. (I have 4 incandescents, the one in the fridge, and 3 clear globes in the bathroom, where the specific requirements tend to rule out most of the savings from CFL).

    Many of the CFLs are so-called Truelight-type bulbs and actually better than incandescent IMHO.

  6. The Brandy Bridges story is incomplete. Bottom line is the mercury in the bulbs is miniscule and the biggest hazard of a broken bulb is the glass. Maine DEP eventually cleaned her carpet because she sealed it up for two months and the mercury was sitting there. Old and broken bulbs should be handled the same way as old and broken batteries. The full story at

Comments are closed. If you have something you really want to say, tweet @gadgetopia.