2016 deadline for old light bulbs

2011-12-07 14:13

Durban - It will take government four years to change South Africa’s light bulbs.

The country will be the first in Africa to completely phase out the old incandescent bulbs, according to the department of energy.

A statement released during a United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP] media briefing at COP 17 in Durban said the phase-out would start in January.

“South Africa will become the first African country to phase out incandescent lamps following an integrated approach, including the development of collection and recycling systems.

“Beginning in January [next year], the country fully supports the 2016 global deadline for the phase out of inefficient lamps and will successfully complete [this] by 2016,” the department said.

In doing so, it would save enough electricity to power over four million homes.

Energy Minister Dipuo Peters was absent from the briefing, but was quoted in the statement as saying the phase-out “is a key measure to reduce CO2 emissions”.

UNEP head Achim Steiner said that while CFLs (candescent fluorescent lamps) were more expensive than the incandescent bulbs, they lasted longer.

“It [the CFL] is cheaper to run over its lifetime,” he said.

More than 25 countries have signed up for UNEP’s Global Efficient Lighting Partnership Programme.

It is understood that from 2016, it will not be possible to buy or replace the old-style incandescent bulbs in South Africa.

According to the statement, more than 130 countries still market incandescent lamps.

“Lack of awareness about the energy saving and financial benefits of efficient lamps is a key deterrent for their market penetration in developing countries.”

  • Donald - 2011-12-07 14:20

    Doesn't CFL stand for Compact Fluorescent Light?

      Vastar - 2011-12-07 14:42

      CFL stands for the following: CFL Canadian Football League, CFL Central Florida CFL Compact Fluorescent Lamp, CFL Compact Fluorescent Light/bulb CFL Campaign for Liberty, CFL Children, Families and Learning CFL Cathode Fluorescent Lamp, CFL Continental Football League CFL Context Free Language, CFL Collaborative Family Law CFL Center for Literacy, CFL Catholic Forensic League CFL Champions for Life, CFL Calcaneofibular Ligament (physiology) CFL Ceasefire Line, CFL Cleared Flight Level (air navigation) CFL Canadian Federation of Labour CFL Coordinated Fire Line, CFL Call Failure (Signal), CFL Central Federal Lands CFL Choppers for Life, CFL Chemin de Fer Luxembourgeois CFL Calibrated Focal Length, CFL Club Francais du Livre (French Book Club), CFL Chinese Federation of Labor (Taiwan), CFL Claim for Loss, CFL Capacitated Facility Location CFL Contingency Planning Facilities List (US DoD), CFL Courant-Friedrich-Levy Condition (constraint on solving FDTD equations), CFL Consolidated Fisheries Ltd, CFL Critical Field Length, CFL California Federation of Labor, CFL Confidential Frequency List (publication), CFL Community Foundation of the Lowcountry (also seen as CFLC), CFL Commission on Filipino Language, CFL Computer Forensics Laboratory CFL Command File Language, CFL Consequence of Failure Level etc. There is a thing called google Donald...try it...

      Donald - 2011-12-07 14:48

      Congrats Vastar for learning how to use the internet machine. I have a feeling this article isn't about the Canadian Football League though.

      Marion - 2011-12-07 14:51

      @ Donald - Yup... except in SA where it apparently stands for that other thing... I went to check if I was right on the problems with the new type of lightbulb and found this on : I found this excerpt on "Candescent bulbs are cheaper for each individual bulb however, and fluorescent bulbs are much more dangerous if broken, since mercury is a toxic material. They also operate less efficiently than normal in temperatures that diverge greatly from normal room temperature." Makes you think...

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-07 14:58

      Marion, I find them better - whatever the negatives. I was forever replacing the incandescents, these CFL's sometimes last a year - though I do get duds sometimes. I think they work out cheaper - to buy and to operate. The dangers are a bit exagerated I think. The best are LED bulbs, but they are still very expensive - they will be the future, and I think they're 100% safe as well.

      Marion - 2011-12-07 15:18

      @Chum... I use them as well but to dispose of them one needs to take them to a collection point and few people are going to go to that trouble. They have mercury in and that is dangerous. Not that we worried too much about that when we used to play with 'quicksilver' as kids.

      George - 2011-12-07 15:40

      Vastar Thats just not cricket

  • Hugh - 2011-12-07 14:30

    Why four years? just ban the manufacture and import of incandescent lamps, and within a year there will be none left. Oh, sorry, their deals with China must be fulfilled first, to our detriment.

      MikeLearview - 2011-12-07 15:10

      ... plus all the old stock from the European countries that have already discontinued using the old globes has, of course, been dumped on Africa.

  • Zanele - 2011-12-07 14:34

    Has any one tried to replace these so called energy saving bulbs?? well they are certainly not money saving. Each bulb cost aroung R29 - R35 depending on the shop you buying from and they don't last that long. I have not seen value in these bulbs in any way whatsoever, people are just excited because the first ones were issued for free, wait until they have to buy on their own...trouble will begin.

      Sattva - 2011-12-07 14:45

      i have replaced all mine at home ... the initial cost may be more than the ordinary lightbulb, but I have never had to replace one yet in 3 years of use.... they last so much longer than the ordinary lightbulb.

      Karen - 2011-12-07 14:50

      I absolutely agree. I found that they do not last any longer than the old bulbs - but at 10x the price! Also - they often do not fit into light fixtures (eg the domed lights on ceiling fans). I do use them to reduce electricity consumption, but do NOT tell me that it is going to save me money!

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-07 15:00

      Mine last much longer than the old type, maybe theres a problem with your power. You must look after them, one of the things that blows them is to switch them in and off quickly. If you switch one on, leave it on at least 20 seconds before switching it off.

      Chrono - 2011-12-07 15:06

      @Zanele I totally agree. However my biggest problem with them is that they are not nearly as effective as the bulbs they replace. I am seriously considering stockpiling the old type in spaces where I need to be able to see. I have no problem with the elongated (tube-shaped) fluorescent lights. I refer to the ones that are supposed to stand in for small light bulbs.

      Brian - 2011-12-07 15:07

      I saved 20% on my electricity trust me after a few months you will have saved hundreds of rands in electricity charges.

      Marion - 2011-12-07 15:23

      Zanele, I agree with you. My ordinary light bulbs lasted a long time. Maybe not 3 years but I don't believe they cost me that much over a 3-year period. (3 years is debatable) Have had to replace the CFL in one room twice already in the past two years.

      davieoosie - 2011-12-07 16:03

      Sattva, what brand do you buy, mine doesn't last as long as the conventional light bulbs.

  • Mike - 2011-12-07 14:37


      Sharon - 2011-12-07 15:39

      Good one Mike .............fantastic

  • Marion - 2011-12-07 14:37

    Two things... a) Don't these light bulbs have to be disposed of in very specific ways? If we can't even get people to put their litter into bins how are we going to get them to do the 'right thing' when disposing of the light bulbs. What kind of new problems will this create? b) Anyone who wants to can just buy bulk quantities of the old light bulbs to use after 2016. In Joburg people came around to replace our light bulbs free of charge and most people were too scared to let them through the front door.

      procold2 - 2011-12-07 14:45

      Marion this is someones BRIGHT IDEA and hasnt been thought through,you are correct on the disposel issue, also we have so many third world problems to sort out i think leave the first world stuff until we first world waste managment and so forth.

      Greg - 2011-12-07 14:52

      You're right, each of these new light bulbs contains mercury. We just better hope that none of us break a light bulb or worse they leak. Personally I'll go with something else rather than put my whole family at risk

      Mouldy - 2011-12-07 15:21

      Greg, they do not contain any more Mercury than the long fluorescent tubes that's been around for decades. Have you ever complained about them too? It's the same thing bud, only smaller. Stop being so naive.

      Greg - 2011-12-07 15:41

      Mouldy, I wish I was being naive, I ended up with mercury poisoning from amalgam fillings. My doctors tell me i have another two years of chelation before even hoping to be well again. And everyone told me that silver fillings were safe. I tend to complain about any product with mercury in it. I think what's naive is pretending that the second most toxic substance on the planet is safe.

  • Zanele - 2011-12-07 14:42

    Yes apparently their are highly dangerous and should be disposed in a certain way. I can assure you now that the introduction of these bulbs has got nothing to do with our welfare or the nature's, am pretty sure that it has something to do with Govt pocketing more.

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-07 15:03

      This is one of the few cases where the intentions of the government are correct I think. Funny, I seem to be one of the few who finds these things costing me less than the old ones, are you okes doing your sums wrong, or perhaps just resistant to change?

      Brian - 2011-12-07 15:08

      Thats why you by LED lights

      Marion - 2011-12-07 15:26

      @Brian - can one buy ordinary LED type globes for use at home? What sort of price range are they and approximately how long do they last?

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-07 15:56

      Brian, where do you get your LED bulbs? I've found some online that are very expensive - like R200 a bulb. Thats a big capital outlay to replace what I have. They also seem to be very low watts, do they give decent light?

      Brian - 2011-12-07 16:04

      @ Marion : you can get them at game, lighting warehouse I've even started to see them at pick n pay. They cost about R 150, now before you fall off your chair remember that this is only for 3W with gives the same incandescence as a 40W incandescent bulb. They can last up to 50,000 hours. All parts are recyclable and there is no mercury.

      Brian - 2011-12-07 16:30

      @ Chum : yes the dimmable ones are quite expensive. They are really great for spot lights in the home. but since they give off only the equivalent of 35 to 40W you need to buy a few I have 4 3Watts in my room and I have no complaints. This gives off way more light than an equivalent 12W fluorescent bulb. Plus since its LED there is not heat given off and they last 5 times linger than the fluorescent bulb. In the end the costs are about the same they are becoming more popular and the price is dropping I remember when it cost R 1,000 to buy one of these and you still had to import them.

      Marion - 2011-12-07 16:38

      @Brian... Thanks for the info. I didn't just fall off my chair, I had a heart attack :-) But maybe at one a month it could be worth pursuing if, as you say, there is lighting for some 50 000 hours per bulb... will definitely give you a valid reason to remove the light bulbs if you move... (could never understand why people found it necessary to do that with the cheap jobbies!)

  • Gavin - 2011-12-07 14:56

    This is rich for a government who can't even keeps the lights on !!

      George - 2011-12-07 15:43

      Light on but nobody at home

      davieoosie - 2011-12-07 16:21

      My thoughts exactly, maybe we should stock up on candles and gas instead.

  • Craig - 2011-12-07 15:11

    @marion .. the answer is LED .. 30 % more efficient then neon bulbs even and you can only get them from me at samsung :P its the way of the future :}

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-07 15:57

      Price - and brightness, how do they compare?

  • billy - 2011-12-07 15:26

    reduce CO2 emissions”.and increase mecury...

  • Angus - 2011-12-07 15:34

    While I agree they will save energy and electricity over time, they come at a horrendous price! Again the man in the street is paying a highway-robbery price to some businessmen(probably Chinese again!) who are screwing all of us for the "privilege" of using the new lights.

  • ludlowdj - 2011-12-07 15:41

    The CFL bulbs are exactly the same as the fluorescent tubes that are used in homes, schools etc, that also require special disposal although I doubt whether anyone in this country has bothered over the last 40 years. Reports from overseas (Britain) indicate that as soon as the old incandescent bulbs were removed from the market, the price of CFL tubes doubled indicating a profit motivation for big business. I have also noted that there is no perceptible difference in bulb life, with replacements seeming to be needed on a more frequent basis with the new bulbs although this could also be attributed to the dirty power supply we get from Eskom.

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-07 15:59

      Mine last longer - especially the ones on all night that light up the road to my house. A lot of switching on and off seems to blow them. Also, there aren't many different types to fit all the different fittings.

  • Dianne - 2011-12-07 16:29

    I've been told that the new bulbs can set off attacks in people who have Lupus...anyone know anything about this?

      Marion - 2011-12-07 16:42

      I Googled it and, yes, it appears it can affect people with a number of medical conditions, Lupus being one of them. Anyone who has a problem with photosynthesis, migraine etc., can be adversely affected by them apparently. Check out this link (outdated)

  • Gary - 2011-12-07 16:37

    I get so annoyed when I read about energy saving light bulbs to cut down on emissions during their useful lifetime. People are sort of aware now about the disposal requirements, the possibility of mercury poisoning and leaching. However, nobody ever thinks about WHAT THE DAMN THINGS ARE MADE OF OR HOW THEY'RE MADE! I recently took a dud one apart and found the following inside: a big electrolytic capacitor, several polyester capacitors, eight diodes, two high voltage transistors/FETs, a trigger transformer, 6 resistors, six pieces of wire (with glass fibre coverings), a phenolic printed circuit board, plastic enclosure, glass tubing, a phosphorescent coating, tin/lead solder, mercury (that had disappeared somewhere when the tube broke), tungsten emitters in the tube and a screw end-cap. How the hell can these light bulbs POSSIBLY be more environmentally friendly with all these components inside? These components, made in their millions, also have their origins in dirty industries. It's a complete environmental scam. Unless someone can produce a proper scientific study to prove that the entire production, useful life and disposal cycle is more carbon friendly, I stand by my theory that CFLs are an environmental nightmare.

      Heinrich - 2011-12-07 17:18

      Gary, I agree. We tend to just swallow everything chucked at us. I would, for instance want to see the calculations supporting the statement that the S.A. swop will "save enough electricity to power over four million homes" One does not want to sound negative, but one needs to be convinced with factual evidence. It is also true that these CFL's emit electromagnetic interference which can be detrimental to electronic equipment as well as to human/animal health. These things need to be researched properly and the findings made public. Perhaps the prestige of "being the first in Africa" is more important than other considerations.

      Liz - 2011-12-07 20:15

      Gary - I wrote a comment totally agreeing with you. Given that there is no sound plan for the disposal of these CFL - it is really an environmental nightmare particularly in lesser developed communities. News 24 deleted the comment... Very telling about the kind of society we live in!

  • Clive - 2011-12-07 18:32

    All very well to phase out incandescent light bulbs and replace them with so-called eco-friendly ones -- BUT, as one is unable to read by using the eco friendly ones -- how does the Government hope to solve that one?

  • Izak Furstenberg - 2011-12-07 22:56

    Gary. I agree. Has anybody checked with New Zealand about their disposal problems! These unflattering tubes of glow will be the start of global household oozing radiation. Heaven behold you should be cut by one.

  • Alice - 2011-12-08 06:13

    I use LED's to save money on my energy costs every month. I love my new CREE LR6's. I also bought the new Philips A19's which are dimmable. I found them for really reasonable prices at

      Chum Scrubber - 2011-12-08 13:18

      Good info, thanks Alice.

  • Reverse - 2011-12-08 23:22

    Now you can return your used light bulbs and domestic batteries to a brand new light bulb recycling reverse vending machine at IKEA in the UK and get a reward. includes CFL light bulbs , as it has an onboard mercury fume extractor , you can even donate to a charity of your choice

  • Robert - 2011-12-21 05:57

    LED's helped me cut costs on my energy use/bills. Found my LED's here.

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