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Light bulb ban begins

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Light bulb ban begins
Photo: DPA
09:10 CEST+02:00
Starting on Tuesday, classic incandescent light bulbs will begin to be phased out in Germany and the rest of the European Union in a bid to save energy and protect the environment.

Their replacements will be energy-saving bulbs such as compact fluorescent lamps and LED lamps.

Environmental groups welcomed the new rules, but cautioned precautions needed to be taken with the new bulbs.

“Those who now use energy saving lamps within their own four walls need just one-fifth of the electricity for the same amount of light,” said Leif Miller, head of German nature conservation society Nabu.

But he added that the disposal of new light bulbs must be improved because their quicksilver content makes them unfit for normal household rubbish.

The complete phaseout of old light bulbs is to occur by 2012, but the first to go on Tuesday will be frosted bulbs rated at 100 Watts. Next will be bulbs that run at more than 60 Watts, followed a year later by those with more than 40 Watts. In September of 2012, bulbs more than 10 Watts will also be banned.

Experts say that light bulbs use just five percent of the energy they burn for providing light, while the rest is simply heat. But energy saving lamps use 25 percent of the energy to provide light and could save up to 80 percent of the energy used in Europe.

Environmentalists have criticised the measures though because many stores plan to get around the ban by stocking up on old light bulbs. According to Jürgen Resch, the head of environmentalist group DUH, drug stores, discount groceries, furniture stores and hardware stores are all planning to use back stock to profit from the ban.

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