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The Environment and Carbon Footprint

Energy Saving Bulbs and the Environment

It is universally agreed that energy saving light bulbs are good for the environment. Not only do they save significant quantities of electricity but they last much longer and therefore do not result in the high levels of landfill associated with incandescent bulbs. CFL bulbs are around four times as efficient as incandescent light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. Therefore a 20 Watt CFL will offer the same amount of light as a 100 Watt incandescent bulb and will last for around five years. Using an 18 Watt CFL in place of a 75 Watt standard light bulb will save over 500 kWh over its lifetime offering savings of around £25 - far in excess of the initial cost of the CFL - and will prevent half a ton of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere by power stations.
The environmental case for LEDs is even more outstanding. LEDs are not only mercury free, so they don't contain any hazardous waste, but they're also 300% more energy efficient than fluorescent lights and about 1000% more efficient than incandescent lights. In a study by The Department of Energy in the US have estimated that LED Bulbs could reduce their national energy consumption for lighting by 29% by 2025. That would save households £80 billion on their electric bills and would have a significant positive impact on our global warming, energy and emissions initiatives.

Carbon Footprint- What Is A Carbon Footprint?

A carbon footprint refers to the total amount of carbon dioxide (or greenhouse gases) produced directly or indirectly by certain human activities. It’s often calculated as tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted per year.

Factors That Affect Carbon Footprint

To calculate a footprint, there are several factors that are usually taken into consideration, including the location and number of people in your home, your food and diet, how frequently you drive or fly, and the type of lighting you use. For instance, driving to the grocery burns a specific amount of fuel, and as you know fossil fuels are the major source of greenhouse gases. And perhaps that grocery store is power-driven, so it possesses its own carbon footprint. Besides, all the products being sold in the store were shipped there; and this should be factored into the overall calculation of the footprint. Even more, the fruits, meats, as well as vegetables that the grocery sells were grown in the farms, a process which yields methane that features a greenhouse effect twenty-five times greater than that associated with CO2. To understand an activity’s total carbon footprint, all the above-mentioned elements must be combined.

Calculating Your Carbon Footprint

Though adding up your carbon footprint may prove quite complex, online calculators can provide some rough estimates based on your home’s size, the efficiency of appliances, how frequently you drive/fly, the type of food you eat as well as how much you recycle. It’s important to note that fossil fuel use plus electricity consumption are major contributors to your carbon footprint. Of course, this isn’t perfect, but a better way to measure your daily activities so that you can estimate how much carbon dioxide they produce and take measures to cut down your carbon footprint.

The Stats

According to research, lighting contributes to about 6% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Switching to LED lighting could keep tons of greenhouse gases out of the air and minimize the number of power stations.

Carbon Footprint and Electricity

Research indicates that nearly half of the world’s carbon footprint is as a result of electricity and 17 percent is caused by lighting alone. Everyone depends on electricity to meet most of their daily requirements. Sources of electricity include coal, wind, geothermal energy, hydroelectricity solar, gas, and nuclear plants. And a person’s carbon footprint is directly proportional to the amount of electricity consumed as well as the source of electricity.

The Importance of Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

Curbing climate change isn’t an easy task and you can’t accomplish it alone- everyone has to play a role in reducing its effect on this planet. And the best way to achieve this is to reduce the level of your carbon footprint by minimizing your carbon emissions. In fact, it’s like everything we do release some carbon into the atmosphere. However, the exact amount depends on numerous factors, meaning that you can increase or reduce your carbon footprint by right choices. The food you purchase, for instance, contains a certain level of a carbon footprint because it machinery plus resources to grow, harvest, and transport. Then, more energy is consumed when cooking that food, which further increases its carbon footprint.

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Reducing your carbon footprint might feel like an impossible task. This is so because we heavily rely on oil and coal for our daily needs; lighting your home or office, filling up your gas tank, and charging your computer or phone. But with the use of LEDs, you can save up to 70 percent on your energy bills while the environment receives minimal CO2 emissions. There are several ways through which people can reduce their carbon footprint; flying less often, installing energy-efficient lights, consuming less of animal products and driving fewer miles. The three R’s are also very important- Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. Some methods of minimizing your carbon footprint include taking public transportation, insulating your home properly, consuming less meat, driving more efficient vehicles, and eating foodstuffs that require less transportation. In addition, you can consider purchasing carbon credits, funds that usually go into projects like planting trees or venturing into renewable energy.

Buy Local Produce

By purchasing locally produced foodstuffs, you can minimize your carbon footprint. Plus, organic products contain no chemicals, thus lowering your carbon footprint further. What you eat makes a great difference. Consuming meat, as well as other animal products, regularly isn’t a good idea. Vegetarian diets contain smaller carbon footprints, so you better start switching to this. Besides, utilizing 100 percent renewable electricity/green gas when cooking your food can really play an important role in lowering your carbon footprint. It may look simple, but considering these measures for every meal can bring huge benefits to you and the entire nation. With everyone’s positive contribution to the environment, the impact can be colossal.

LED Lighting: The Best Way To Lower Your Carbon Footprint

LED lighting is an incredible way to minimize your carbon footprint. It’s efficient, affordable, and reliable. Even more, LEDs come with huge environmental benefits. As compared to conventional light bulbs, these fixtures are more energy efficient, saving you up to 90 percent of energy bills. Because of their small, compact design, LEDs are easy to install and use. In addition, they don’t feature any glass materials or toxic chemicals such as mercury, making them highly durable and safe. You can comfortably utilize them in tight spaces and cleaning rooms as well as food prep areas. LED lights dissipate less heat and are perfect for use in hot climates and industrial applications. Lowering the operating temperature exerts less strain on your HAVC system. Conventional lights generate lots of heat and waste over 10 percent of their energy. When utilized in hot climates and in industrial applications, LEDs lower operating temperature plus brighter light results can translate to significant savings on your energy expenses. In addition, LEDs last very long and contain no mercury. By installing LED lamps and tubes, you can reduce your carbon footprint by 6 tons annually.

Greenpeace Say Change them Right Now... don't even wait for them to blow!!

Incandescent bulbs are going to end up in landfill anyway, so the question is: do you put them in the bin now or later? If you continue to use them until they break, they'll still be using 80 per cent more electricity compared to CFLs. If you throw them away now, the energy and materials used in their production will be wasted but that will eventually be outweighed by the amount of energy saved from using CFLs. On balance, the best thing you can do is to change your light bulbs now - the energy saved is more significant than keeping those incandescents out of landfill for a few more months.

Recycling and Safety

Incandescent bulbs have no hazardous waste so they can be placed in landfill sites, but it is important to recycle CFL's as they do contain small quantities of mercury and other hazardous waste. Although lighting manufacturers have greatly reduced the amount of mercury used in lighting over the past 20 years, they are not yet able to completely eliminate the need for mercury. While mercury-containing bulbs contain small amounts of mercury (an average of 5 milligrams or about 1/100th of the amount of mercury found in a mercury fever thermometer), they are one of numerous sources that collectively impact the environment during disposal.

Does the mercury pose a risk?

The mercury cannot escape from an intact lamp and, even if the lamp should be broken, the very small amount of mercury contained in a single, modern CFL is most unlikely to cause any harm. But it makes sense to avoid unnecessary contact with mercury; and any light bulb, broken or intact, should be dealt with sensibly.

How should I deal with a broken CFL?

Although the accidental breakage of a lamp is most unlikely to cause any health problems, it is good practice to minimise any unnecessary exposure to mercury, as well as risk of cuts from glass fragments.
Revised advice issued by the Health Protection Agency is to:

  • Ventilate the room
  • Wipe the area with a damp cloth, place that in the plastic bag and seal it
  • Sticky tape (e.g. duct tape or similar) can be used to pick up small residual pieces or powder from soft furnishings and then placed in a sealed plastic bag. The plastic bag doesn't need to be air tight, but should be reasonably sturdy.
  • Place it in another, similar bag and seal that one as well (this minimises cuts from broken glass).
The public should contact the local authority for advice on where to dispose of broken or intact CFLs as they should be treated as hazardous waste and should not be disposed of in the bin. All local councils have an obligation to make arrangements for the disposal of household hazardous waste at a civic amenity site or household waste recycling centre. The National Household Hazardous Waste Forum runs a website with details of these centres for chemicals, but which also applies to other hazardous wastes ( Alternatively contact your local council direct.

How should I recycle my Light Bulbs ?

Saving Light Bulbs are committed to improving our environment and also regulated by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive which is now UK law. see WEEE regulations page
CFL's should not be disposed of in landfill but through a recycling centre. Local authorities have these centres but if you are unsure of where yours is then you can find local recycling centre for Gas Discharge Lamps by visiting and then selecting "household" then "light bulbs" and the ticking "Gas Discharge Lamps" and entering your post code. LED lights contain absolutely no mercury or toxic chemicals, and conventional LEDs are made from a variety of inorganic semiconductor materials so recycling is easier. Please contact your local recycling centre for details.
When you purchase CFL's through us we would be glad to take back the CFL you are replacing. Please contact us for hand back details.


The RoHS regulations ( Restriction of Hazardous Substances) concerns itself with controling the levels of hazardous substances used in the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment. Working in partnership with the policy lead at the new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), NMO is the UK Enforcement Authority for the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2008 (the 'RoHS Regulations'). These Regulations implement EU Directive 2002/95 which bans the placing on the EU market of new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than agreed levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants.

All products sold by Saving Light Bulbs have been tested to ensure compliance to RoHS.