The classic old-style incandescent light bulb is going the way of the telegraph, the floppy disc and the cassette tape — not quite gone, and not yet forgotten, but definitely heading in that direction.
Incandescent light bulbs are on the way out. New regulations are in place in Canada to encourage people to use fluorescent bulbs and LED lights instead.
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On New Year’s Day, new federal regulations came into force which take aim at the old inefficient incandescent bulbs to steer people towards compact fluorescent bulbs and LED lights.
“The Government of Canada is introducing standards to improve the efficiency of typical residential light bulbs being sold in Canada,” an explainer on the Government of Canada website says. “Improving energy efficiency reduces the amount of energy used and thus reduces greenhouse gas emissions.”
According to Greg Robertson, manager of Lighting World in St. John’s, it’s all about the LED bulbs in the long run.
Right now, they’re a bit more expensive than most people want to pay for a light bulb, but he said the prices are expected to come down.
“They’re saying that the bulbs are going to average about five bucks each when it’s all said and done,” he said. “But the life on that bulb, instead of 5,000 hours is going to be more like 40,000 or 50,000 hours.”
But these days, the LED bulbs cost around $15 compared to just a dollar or two for incandescent bulbs or compact fluorescent lights.
Robertson said he sees the compact fluorescent bulbs as the bridge while manufacturers work out the kinks with LEDs.
On the early ones, the colour wasn’t right and they didn’t produce light all around.
“The first generation of LED also only had one directional lighting. With a traditional bulb, the light comes around 360 (degrees) but with the traditional LED only came from one side,” Robertson said. “The new LEDs are omnidirectional so the light comes out from all sides — they look kinda freaky, but they do give off better lighting.”
But the compact fluorescent bulbs come with another problem — they contain mercury, and they’re not safe to throw in the garbage.
Both the City of St. John’s and the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB) list compact fluorescents as household hazardous waste, which means they need to be dropped off at the landfill or a safe disposal site.
The MMSB has a complete list of dropoff sites on its website.