Circular Lighting Report

Major stage in fluorescent phase out begins

fluorescent lamps

A major stage in the phase out of fluorescent light sources got under this week as the T8 lamp was banned in both the EU and Great Britain.

Additionally, the T5 lamp and long life compact fluorescent lamps with non-integrated gear are banned in the EU this week under the Restriction of the use of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) legislation. Great Britain follows suit in February 2024.

Long life T5 and T8 lamps have a stay of execution in the UK until February 2024. They were banned in the EU earlier this year.

Compact fluorescent lamps with plug-in bases will no longer be available as of February 2025.

Despite this week’s ‘ban’, existing stocks from suppliers of these lamps will still be available until they are exhausted, and there have been reports of vendors stockpiling the light sources in anticipation of higher prices as the lamps become rarer.

The phase out is expected to provide a boost to the lighting industry as retailers, educational establishments and commercial properties – many of which have large fluorescent estates – switch to LED tubes or, more likely, replace their luminaires completely.

A worldwide elimination of fluorescent is expected to follow in the coming years. 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.

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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.