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EU phase out of traditional light bulbs continues

Traditional 75W bulbs banned under EU rules

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From today, shops will no longer be able to buy new stocks of traditional clear 75 watt (W) incandescent light bulbs as more EU rules come into force.

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.

The mandatory phase out began in September 2009, with 100W and frosted bulbs. Now manufacturers will additionally have to stop supplying clear 75W incandescent light bulbs, and shops will only be able to sell off existing stocks.

Consult our to find out which other light bulbs are affected, and when. Which? has tested a range of energy-saving light bulbs, including compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and halogens.

EU light bulb rules

More information must now also be displayed on certain types of energy-saving light bulb packaging, including its lifetime in hours, how many times the light bulb can be switched on and off, or warm-up times to make light bulb varieties easier to compare. You can find out about the information on the box and what it means in our .

After the 100W bulb ban was introduced last year, there were reports of people stockpiling supplies of the bulb, but many larger stores including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Argos, Ikea, Homebase, B&Q and Tesco – the biggest light bulb retailer – have already stopped stocking energy-guzzling bulbs as part of a voluntary agreement.

According to the Energy Saving Trust (EST), energy-saving light bulbs can use up to 80% less electricity than a standard bulb, adding up to savings of £2.50 per bulb per year, or around £6 for brighter bulbs or those used regularly throughout the day.

Energy-saving light bulb disposal

The European Consumers’ Organisation (BEUC) welcomed the next phase-out stage, but is calling for clearer product information for customers, better energy-saving light bulb recycling provisions and a reduction in CFL mercury levels.

The mercury content in an average CFL is no more than 5mg – which would fit on the tip of a ballpoint pen – but it’s still a hazardous material. For this reason, used energy-saving light bulbs need to be recycled rather than going in the bin. Along with testing energy-saving light bulbs, we’ve also sought to answer .

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