Say Goodbye to Old-Fashioned Light Bulbs

Law phases out incandescent bulbs, encourages energy efficient options.


Old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs are on their way to becoming obsolete. The first to go is the 100-watt, which is no longer being produced as of January. The next to go will be the 75-watt bulb in January 2013, followed by 60- and 40-watt bulbs in 2014.

The phase-out is a result of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, which was intended to make better use of resources and to help the U.S. become energy independent.  Part of the law sets energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs. The law requires that by 2020 most light bulbs be 60 to 70 percent more efficient than standard incandescent bulbs, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

ComEd encourages consumers to illuminate their homes with energy-efficient light bulbs, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). These lights consume about 75 percent less energy and last about 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, lower electricity costs and decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the environment, according to a ComEd press release.

ComEd customers can learn more about energy-efficient lighting options, such as CFLs and LED bulbs, by visiting the “home savings” section of the ComEd.com home page,  which also includes information on how to obtain discounts for select ENERGY STAR®-qualified lighting products. ComEd lighting experts also offer customers tips during visits to home improvement stores across northern Illinois. 

ComEd lighting experts will be at the following retail stores this month:

  •  April 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Ace Hardware, 642 Northwest Hwy, Cary
  • April 15, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Home Depot, 100 Barrington Rd., Schaumburg
  • April 21, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lowe’s. 7735 W. Grand Ave., Gurnee


Consumers should also know that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) now requires new fact labels on light bulb packaging to educate them about lighting products and help them choose the best energy-efficient light bulb for their needs. The labels include energy costs per year, indicate the bulb’s life expectancy, and provide information on wattage and “lumens,” the unit measurement of a light bulb’s brightness.  

Those planning to discard of their old incandescent bulbs should be aware that they are not allowed in the recycling bin. 

Old incandescent bulbs should be disposed of in the garbage, said Cameron Ruen, marketing coordinator for the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County. 

“You won’t find a recycling option for incandescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs are safe to go in the garbage,” Ruen said.

Pat Dieckhoff, McHenry County College waste reduction assistant, advises that incandescent light bulbs be properly wrapped for disposal. “Bundle it up well so it’s not an issue with the person putting it into the truck,” she said.

While incandescent light bulbs can’t be recycled, they can be reused by the crafty. Green Eco Services shows some ways to reuse bulbs including turning them into little, hanging flower vases.


Vortex April 13, 2012 at 07:57 PM
That's strange, you forgot to mention that the new CFL bulbs contain mercury and therefore are NOT safe for the garbage or the recycling container. Since they're seeing far less than their claimed 5 year life span, perhaps a discussion of safe disposal of defective CFL bulbs, and of course the proper procedures and Hazmat emergency contact information number for breakages in the home.
John McCarthy April 13, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Let the free market decide this issue - not the government!
Kirk J April 13, 2012 at 11:49 PM
and to help the U.S. become energy independent..... Dear Govt, Get the HELL out of my life and my choices of lighting my home!!! If any of you reading this would like to dispose of your real, non toxic lightbulbs, I will gladly accept them!!! The last time I checked, this was still called the land of the free! Seriously, I will take them off your hands.
McCloud April 15, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Nobody becomes energy or anything else independent, since it's a world market. Energy independence is just a campaign slogan. Take a look at cell phones, if we were cell phone independent, we'd still be looking at guys in movies with bricks to their head in amazement.
Nellie H April 15, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Start stockpiling incandescent bulbs now. Otherwise the poisonous mercury bulbs or the ultra expensive LEDs will be all you can buy. And those ugly CFL's DO NOT last long at all, cast a horrible tinge of yellow in the room, and are just plain dangerous. I have removed all CFL's from my home even if they were brand new. Why would we want to install mercury filled poisons all over the house? Everything in which the government involves themselves, turns into a disaster. Can't wait until they get their incompetent hands on our healthcare. Vote them all out.
Gina Luzz April 15, 2012 at 05:34 AM
Has anyone else offered the thought of what the new LED bulbs are on the hazard of immune symptons? I know I am affected by flourent light and do not want to use these bulbs. They are going to raise health costs.
Sully April 15, 2012 at 02:54 PM
You will still be able to buy other types of bulbs. They have to meet the requirements, but they do not have to just be the bulbs you are all questioning.
Sully April 15, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Dan, who was in the White House in 2007? Who signed EISA into law?
Joe Tholl April 15, 2012 at 06:02 PM
LED lighting is the way to go. There aren't any toxins contained in an LED bulb, they are 75-90% more efficient than CFL, fluorescent or incandescent, they don't generate any measurable heat and the life expectancy is approximately 18 years. They're not ultra expensive, either! Contact me for more info - jtholl011@ledsource.com
Pat Lyon April 16, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Well said, Mary. Many thanks. (And I think we all know the answer to your question.)
Chicago Food Guy April 16, 2012 at 04:30 AM
Mary, you forgot the voting breakdown. EISA 2007 was won by a majority vote: 228 Democrats and 36 Republicans, this was an overwhelmingly Democrat decision. Most Republicans voted against it.
Sully April 16, 2012 at 01:13 PM
The voting in the House was 319-100 with 98 percent of the dems voting for it and 49.7 percent of republicans voting it in. Bush, a republican, signed it into law.
McCloud April 16, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Does that make everything ok? I guess in your world it does.
Nellie H April 16, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Forget about the voting breakdown and political parties. The decay is systemic and BOTH parties are making laws that are extra constitutional. One of the main responsibilities of the Federal Government is to protect the border. They are not doing a very good job and are doing the exact opposite The light bulb issue is a symptom of a much bigger problem. The constitution is set to limit federal government, not to expand it. Unless and until every citizen, no matter the political affiliation, understands what has been happening, we will continue to see more and more light bulb type legislation. If you keep voting for the same idiots over and over, you will continue to get the same light bulb type laws over and over.
Sully April 16, 2012 at 05:28 PM
If you're addressing me, McCloud, I don't understand the question.
Gary April 16, 2012 at 06:46 PM
The Patch missed a great opportunity here. That light bulb should be getting crushed by a fist wearing a velvet glove with the words "Government mandated progress" embroidered on it.
Gary April 16, 2012 at 06:56 PM
... you know, we all better keep on eye on this kind of stuff. If we don't get a handle on this pretty soon the federal government will be telling us how much mileage our cars should get, what kind of foods we can feed our children at lunch, how much health insurance we need, how much water we can use to flush our toilets... and they might even have their hands down our pants at the airport. Wouldn't it be a nightmare to wake up in that kind of world? Sure is a good thing we're all ready to stand up for our rights and make sure it never gets that far.
Gary April 16, 2012 at 07:14 PM
He's asking if you'll join us in fighting bad legislation or if you only care about scoring points on the Republican party? Let me know if you need a simpler version of the question.
McCloud April 16, 2012 at 07:55 PM
If these light bulbs are all the rage, why do they have to pass a law to eliminate any other alternative?
Phil Barcini April 16, 2012 at 07:57 PM
What seems to be missed is that the law did not mandate this. This was mandated by the EPA under regulatory powers based on their interpretation of the law. And anyone who thinks these alternatives are better needs to quit using meter & use their eyes (assuming they remove their heads from - Oh, never mine!)
Nellie H April 16, 2012 at 08:57 PM
McCloud April 16, 2012 at 09:42 PM
If these light bulbs are all the rage, why do they have to pass a law making us buy them?
Sully April 17, 2012 at 02:35 AM
Yes Mary. All you can do is sigh. The ignorant shall ever remain so. I'm really not up to wasting any more time on the misinformed.
Kirk J April 17, 2012 at 11:21 AM
What you may not realize is that the right wing and left wing are attached to the same carrion crow that is pecking all of our eyes out and feeding on our substance! Bush did sign it in to law on his way out the door. They simply paste the label on every piece of legislative horror with the phrase "common sense legislation" or they give it a strong sounding name like EISA or NDAA, (National Defence Authorization Act). The biggest problem is that hardly anyone reads these liberty destroying acts! Did you know the NDAA that Obama signed under the cover of darkness allows American citizens to be arrested without just cause or a warrant and can be detained indefinitely or killed without a trial or a judge. You now can simply disappear just like in Nazi Germany. I personally choose to never to use CFL's (aka."Death Spirals") in my house. The Govt is not our friend. They are not here to help us. This is incremental tyranny plain and simple.
McCloud April 17, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Thats the fun part about tyranny, if I don't think it's a big deal then nobody else should either. As long as we are all in for tyranny, why not ban use of cars just for those who favor the elimination of the tax credits for the petroleum industry. Not a big deal for me.
Nellie H April 17, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Mary, I think I know what you mean...we should just ignore the light bulbs and focus on the gargantuan issues...like giving free health care to anyone who shows up at the hospital, lifetime welfare for all, EBT cards for everyone, failed alternative energy factories that received billions and billions, and let's just open the borders wide and let everyone in. Honestly I can't figure out why it is that people like you think that those temporary politicians know more than you or me? What is corporate welfare anyway? Are you speaking of tax credits? Thank goodness the corporations get some tax relief. This is what allows them to do research and development, hire new people (JOBS!!!), do philanthropic activities, etc. Are you so addled that you cannot make decisions for yourself about anything from a light bulb to land use? Do you think elected officials know what's best for you and me? Look at these life time politicians that have held their offices for many years. Do you think that makes them experts at anything other than running for office? Do you trust and hold them in such high regard that you would willingly allow mercury bombs all over your house? Pick a politician, almost any of them, research what their financial situation was when they were elected versus now. Think about why they legislate the way they do and how the small salary they receive become millions. They are not thinking of your best interest EVER.


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