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Light Bulb Ban.
3166 Posts

Energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: "We're phasing out old inefficient halogen bulbs for good, so we can move more quickly to longer-lasting LED bulbs, meaning less waste and a brighter and cleaner future for the UK.

But don't the new L.E.D. lamps contain more electronic stuff, all eventually  destined for landfill?

8 Replies
730 Posts
I support the ban, which will probably contain a number of exemptions and get out clauses, and will not be total.

The saving in energy used is significant and far outweighs the energy used in manufacture of the lamps.

Does anyone have a list of the types to be banned ?
3166 Posts

"Stephen Rouatt, chief executive of Signify UK, which owns Philips lighting, said: "Using energy-efficient LED equivalents for halogen and fluorescent lighting on an even broader scale will significantly help the UK on its journey to decarbonisation, as well as lowering the annual electricity bills for consumers."

Decarbondioxideation perhaps?

Denis McMahon
346 Posts
Thanks for your proposed new word, Zoomup. Pass it on to Stephen - and the media.

I understood that landfill was also being phased out. Where I live, household waste is incinerated to generate electricity. Our household waste recycling centre takes lamps of all types - filament, fluorescent, l.e.d. I am not sure precisely what happens to them. I presume they are broken down to extract valuable component materials.
3760 Posts
But don't the new L.E.D. lamps contain more electronic stuff, all eventually  destined for landfill?

It is one of the problems - electronics can be cheap, but it is not good for the environment, either when it gets buried at the end of life or in the disruption and energy expended to get the materials to make the components, even secondary  things like the volumes of water contaminated each day to run a chip foundry are not trivial, though in that case it can be re-processed (though the places that do cheap electronics tend to be less good at this and dump to the sea, though that too is improving.).
Nature knows how to convert broken glass back into sand and filament wires back into the oxide, and will do so over time. It's track record with plastics and the contents of electrolytic capacitors is less satisfactory.
Partly it is about economic lifetime, and the sheer volume to be thrown away - something like the Dubai lamp - engineered to run cold and be more or less the last lamp you ever  buy would be the most sensible alternative to the filament lamp.
But it does not keep the lamp makers in business, so the ones you can buy here run the electronics warm or even quite hot, and so they fail after a life time comparable to the filaments they replace, so tons of the things end up being buried.
Of course the green argument works best if all your electricity comes from fossil fuels, and/or is in short supply. If neither of these is true, then the balance swings back to filaments.
PS edit
That temperature of the LED thing is really important, far more so than any other sort of lamp
from the Dubai lamp datasheet 
1199 Posts
I think Zoom has a fair point.
There seems to be a tendency to ignore the (sometimes) significant amount of energy, toxins CO2 etc etc used in the supply chain of manufacture (including transport and building costs) of many energy saving plans. Throw the rose tinted glasses away and see the real figures . Of course people with agendas (a lot of politicians) stragely ignore that.

Example, my local household waste centre closed a few years back, resulted in people making more/longer car journeys or even increased flytipping. That saving had a real cost to the enviroment that was ignored

Simon Barker
910 Posts
Where I live, electricals sent for recycling are shredded, then mined for valuable minerals.  I guess anything of no value then gets sent for incineration.
There are not many materials worth recovering in most electricals, the most valuable probably being steel and to some extent copper. The underlying problem is that sorting tiny pieces of valuable materials from the bulk is very difficult indeed, and the purity of the sorted materials is very low, which means that much more cost and energy goes into purifying them. Electronics of a consumer kind contain almost no precious metals, and the biggest value may well be in the tin in solder. Consumer chips only have a tiny content of aluminium, everything else is epoxy plastic or sand, and perhaps copper pins for old fashioned stuff. As some of you know, recycling small bits of small cables is difficult, although may get you a few quid occasionally. The plastic parts are probably best to use for heat, although PVC has various pollution problems and difficult byproducts of combustion such as dioxins and chlorine. A good deal of your "recycling" which you sort and wash (bad energy use) ends up in landfill, whatever your local politicians say, the best materials are PET bottles, steel tins and various forms of paper. The strangest part is that most councils don't want larger plastic items, black plastic of any kind, tetra-packs etc. These don't suit them so are dumped (in Bristol often just thrown in the road). The economics of waste recycling are marginal at best, although somewhat distorted by the landfill tax.

Does any of this sound familiar when considering renewable energy? The BIG picture is often not considered at all!
730 Posts
It would seem that the government press release contained a number of factual errors, and that the lighting industry has now published a correction and clarification.

press release


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