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EU ban on traditional light bulbs begins

100W and frosted bulbs out, energy saving bulbs in

A low energy lightbulb

Switch your home’s lights to energy saving light bulbs

From today, retailers will no longer be able to buy new stocks of traditional clear 100 watt (W) incandescent light bulbs or frosted light bulbs.

The switch from traditional, less efficient light bulbs to energy-saving light bulbs is part of an EU initiative to phase out all bulbs with poor efficiency ratings by 2012.

As we reported earlier this year, 1 September marks the first mandatory date for manufacturers to stop supplying, and retailers to stop restocking shelves with clear 100W incandescent light bulbs and frosted, opaque light bulbs.

Find out which light bulbs are affected by the new EU rules in our guide to replacing light bulbs. Which? has also tested a variety of energy saving light bulbs – read our energy-saving light bulb review for our verdict.

Traditional light bulbs phase out

Defra says low energy compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) save 80% of energy compared with old fashioned bulbs. And according to the Energy Saving Trust, using low energy light bulbs can cut energy bills for homes by £3-6 per year, per bulb.

After today, retailers will be able to sell off existing stocks of traditional light bulbs, but will not be able to order or import any further supplies.

However many large retailers, including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Argos, Ikea, Homebase, B&Q and Tesco – the biggest light bulb retailer – have already begun phasing out supplies of less efficient traditional bulbs in favour of energy-saving light bulbs under a voluntary agreement, and stopped stocking 100W bulbs in January 2009.

Meanwhile the BBC has reported that many shoppers have been bulk buying old-style light bulbs in order to evade the EU ban.

Energy saving light bulbs

Environment Minister Dan Norris said: ‘We can no longer rely on light bulbs which waste 95% of their energy as heat. We are glad the EU has put this measure in place to stop the waste of energy and money from old fashioned high energy bulbs. The UK has had a successful voluntary initiative in place for a few years, and now the rest of the EU will follow suit on a mandatory basis.

‘This is great news for people who will pay less in electricity and even better news for the planet, as this will amount to 1 million tonnes of saved CO2 per year by 2020.’

Along with testing energy-saving light bulbs, we’ve also sought to answer questions and concerns about low energy light bulbs.

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