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Saturday, 8 September 2012


Light bulbs are no longer allowed to be imported into the EU. Instead we are expected to fill our homes with dim compact fluorescent bulbs. See table below.


Of course the green treehuggers are jumping for joy with this. They think they are saving the planet by banning these fairly innocuous items, that we have used to give us light for so many years.

However as usual they never used what little brainpower they had. Yes, the incandescent light bulb was an inefficient source of light but it was a very good source of background heat on those cold winter nights.

Every British ship I sailed on were lit by fluorescents. However a ship that we chartered that was built in Finland was lit by incandescents. The calculations being that a less expensive heating system needed to be fitted to the vessel. Win Win.

Enough of ships. I left them a while ago. Lets get back to CFL’s

What happens if you break one? Here’s what DEFRA has to say on what you should do.


It looks like the instructions, I was given, if we were attacked by a nuclear missile. I’m surprised that you are not told to call in a Hazmat squad, or at least buy your family Anti gas respirators.

Here’s an interesting snippet that you might like from Pointman’s site.

People are not aware of the danger posed by CFL breakages nor the eventual effect on the environment of throwing them out mixed in with other household rubbish. Make no mistake, these bulbs will end up in household rubbish. What will happen then is they will be broken when the rubbish is compressed in the collection truck, exposing the sanitation workers to dangerous levels of mercury every time. The contaminated rubbish will then be tipped into landfill sites, which will definitely shatter any remaining unbroken ones. At this point, the water and land has been irreparably contaminated. The water contamination, means it can now enter the start of the food chain and gradually work its way up it, causing congenital abnormalities in all species, including us. Calling it an eco-disaster doesn’t even begin to cover it.

To give you an idea of how severe mercury contamination can be, the mercury from one CFL is enough to contaminate 30,000 litres of water, way beyond the approved safety standard and millions of these bulbs are going to end up in landfill sites.

I for one will just dispose of mine in my bin. If the council want me to transport the offending article to a tip, then they can bloody well pay me for it. They should have thought about the consequences before they all placidly agreed to this EU directive.

TIP: If you shop around you will still be able to buy incandescent bulbs. These are bulbs called “rough service” bulbs. 


  1. I quite like CFLs, but then I'm a lazy fucker with no regard for the environment :)

    1. A N Other Filthy Engineer9 September 2012 at 17:36

      Don't see how they help the environment. They are toxic waste and need replacing more not less often in my experience. They also have a poor power factor. FE will know what I am on about but basically at the consumer end of things they may appear to have a low power consumption. However, their relative inefficiency would show up on the electricity grid side as consuming more than the real power shown at the consumer meter. This 'apparent' power thus has to be satisfied by extra load on the generators so CFLs ain't as green as they're painted. Industrial users have to apply Power Factor correction to reduce this waste or the energy suppliers will hit them with higher tariffs. At least if a traditional bulb is rated at 60 Watts, with its power factor of 1, that is the load it presents to the national grid. What you see is what you get.

  2. It wouldn't be so bad if the cfl's gave the light stated on their box. But they never do. Not even when warmed up.

  3. We are totally surrounded by a massive bunch of wankers or is it me - Just saying and time to get plenty of piano wire stocked , we will need it.

  4. I have a lifetimes supply of proper light bulbs so threw the pack of "energy-efficient" bulbs supplied to me by EDF, free of charge, straight into the non-recycle bin.
    As you suggest, most independent electical suppliers will happily sell you "eough useage" or "industrial" proper bulbs.

  5. we still get em here.... let me know if you need me to send you some.... we have voltage here... 240 volts 50htz..... wont have em the cfc bulbs in my house... horrible things... full of mercury and put dirty power back into your wiring...

  6. Besides the fact they are crap, and dangerous crap, at that, I am toptaly pissed off by the lie they were "sold to us" undr, that the were more expensive but lasted longer.

    Fucking BOLLOX they do.

    Not a month goes by without me having to buy at least three replacements, and I can assure you, my house is NOT some five hundred room palace in Potsdam.

    REAL bulbs. Two or three per YEAR were needed.

  7. I'm slowly outfitting my house with LED lighting. Brighter and warmer.

  8. Furor
    I dont think I've changed one in 5 years, and all mine were cheapos, like 1p.
    You might have a larger problem with your supply....

    Was considering that actualy, but it seems, different.
    All I've really seen are the strips in IKEA, i get them for lighting mirrors and stuff, but how do they work for rooms, and how do you place them?
    Looking to move next year, so might do the new house

  9. TrT. Aye. It is not just me either. Most people you speak to complain about the same thing.

  10. The tree huggers have pulled this same stunt in North America; we have it just as bad here. At least we have an election coming up in November to vote the moonbats out of office, especially Barack Obama and his pet Joey The Talking Chicken Biden.

  11. TRT.

    Have a look here:

    Just to give you an idea what is available.

  12. Most of the problem with short life of CFL's is down to heat. They should NOT be used in enclosed fittings, and preferably installed cap down. This is to keep the electronic components in the control circuitry at reasonable temperatures. I am not trying to justify them - far from it - but merely pointing out the small print on the box that most people never read. This, perversely, further reduces the effective light given off, as most of it will go upwards.

    I have no problem with conventional fluorescent fittings - I converted most of our house to them over 30 years ago, which must have saved a few quid over that time.

    And how come the "mercury" issue has only recently been raised? ALL fluorescent tubes contain some, and we've been disposing of them since the last war...

    1. Most large scale users will have them replaced by an electrician, who will dispose of them as hazardous waste.
      Most home users will chuck them in the bin.

      Even those who have a useable recycling facility are unlikely to bother going to it.

    2. We have supermarkets with collection boxes for batteries. Bins for all sorts of waste, from electronic gubbins, to glass, to normal household rubbish, but we are not officialy "allowed" to throw these bulbs (I refuse to call them LIGHT bulbs), into any of them.

      So, they go into the household rubbish bin, with everything else.


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