Americans Hoarding Incandescent Light Bulbs

USA Today reports that Americans are hoarding incandescent light bulbs. Why?

As a result of a 2007 energy law, incandescent light bulbs will slowly be phased out and replaced with more efficient lighting technology. The first round of the phase-out went into effect on January 1st, when 100-watt incandescent light bulbs were taken off shelves. Lower wattage bulbs will be removed in 2013 and 2014. Even our government, which is historically resistant to banning products from the marketplace, is sending the message that we should be changing the way we light our homes and offices. So, at the risk of sounding repetitive: why are people hoarding light bulbs?!? USA Today has more answers.

While CFLs [compact fluorescent lightbulbs] use at least 75% less energy, some consumers complain the lighting is dimmer, doesn’t look as warm and doesn’t come on right away. Some also worry about the disposal requirements because of the bulbs’ tiny mercury content.

The article continues with quotes from individuals who have stockpiled tens to hundreds of incandescent bulbs. According to a survey by Osram Sylvania, about 13% of Americans plan to disregard the government’s advice and use 100-watt incandescents. Now, if people were arguing for incandescents in terms of its effect on the unemployment rate, we might be inclined to revisit our position.

We understand that change is hard, and with 82% of the Sylvania survey respondents using incandescent bulbs in their homes, it appears that a lot of people will need to switch to new products when their current bulbs burn out. We also learned the promising fact that 72% of the Sylvania survey respondents already use compact fluorescents, so it’s not as though change is impossible.

Ultimately, the government’s new guidelines for lighting manufacturers will decrease the amount of energy we use to light our homes with minimal drawbacks related to lighting efficiency. Later this week, GoodGuide will be releasing ratings on lighting products so you’ll be able to find sort through all the options and weigh in on the debate.

About Sheila Viswanathan

Sheila Viswanathan focuses on educating individuals on how to make healthier dietary choices. She received her doctoral degree in Nutrition and Public Health from Teachers College, Columbia University and is certified as a registered dietitian.
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5 Responses to Americans Hoarding Incandescent Light Bulbs

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  3. Jennifer LeBaron says:

    I jumped on the bandwagon of fluorescent bulbs quite a while ago and I am fairly disillusioned. The bulbs I buy do not last very long at all. I moved into my current home less than 4 years ago and we replaced almost all of the bulbs with CF bulbs at that time. I have replaced them all at least once since then, many of them multiple times. I may be saving money in my energy usage, but I’m spending all the savings and more on replacing the bulbs. They are supposed to last so much longer than incandescent bulbs, but that has not been my experience. I’m not buying dollar store bulbs. I’m purchasing at Costco and Lowe’s, but the longevity of the bulbs is a serious problem, in my opinion. I definitely worry about the “tiny mercury content” as well as the sheer impact of materials in the bulbs because we’re going through so many them. I haven’t gone out and purchased a bunch of incandescent bulbs yet, but I’m sorely tempted. I wish the efficient, environmentally friendly solutions really were.

  4. Pingback: The Morning Dig: Stephen Colbert’s Take on Incandescent Light Bulbs – The Infrastructurist : Restoring Truthiness

  5. Pingback: IKEA stops selling incandescent light bulbs | Keep Going Green

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