Circular Lighting Report

Global fluorescent lamp ban edges closer

Waste fluorescent lamps

A worldwide elimination of mercury-containing lamps such as fluorescent moved closer after Africa threw its weight behind a ban.

The Africa delegation of 39 countries to a global environmental treaty known as the Minamata Convention on Mercury has proposed an ambitious  amendment that will effectively end the manufacture and trade of all fluorescent lamps globally by 2026.

The amendment follows a unanimous decision at the last meeting of Minamata to phase out compact fluorescent lamps (CLFs) by 2025.

If adopted in November, the new amendment to prohibit all mercury-containing lamps will cumulatively avoid three gigatonnes of carbon dioxide, save around £1 trillion in in electricity costs, and prevent 176 metric tonnes of mercury pollution.

The latter includes both the mercury used in the lamps and the mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants that would be avoided through lower electricity use for lighting.
‘The COP5 African Lighting Amendment is the most effective strategy we have to limiting the dangerous health and environmental impacts of mercury-containing fluorescent lighting,’ Elena Lymberidi- Settimo, international co-coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group, told the press.

‘The Africa region, and most regions around the world, do not have the recycling capacity and resources to properly manage the mercury contents of end-of-life fluorescent bulbs.

‘Widely available LED alternatives mean these exemptions are no longer necessary – there is no justifiable reason to continue manufacturing, importing or exporting harmful fluorescent technologies.’

‘We applaud the Africa Region for their continued leadership in the transition to more efficient mercury-free lighting,’ Rachel Kamande of the Campaign Lead of the Clean Lighting Coalition told the Circular Lighting Report. “The economic case to phase-out fluorescent lamps is even stronger today because the mercury-free LEDs have become less expensive and energy prices have increased leading to even shorter payback periods.’

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Ray Molony

Recolight Report is an independent guide to the latest developments in sustainable and circular lighting. Learn about the people, products, projects and processes that are shaping our industry’s low carbon future. Plus: explainers on the latest innovations, opinion from thought leaders and video interviews with leading disruptors. Edited by lighting expert, editor and industry figure Ray Molony.