Should I wait for my light bulbs to go before changing them?

Here is the scenario.  Your energy supplier, in a bid to promote its green credentials has sent you a free pack of low energy bulbs.  Putting aside that most of their generation is coal-fired, at least they’re trying to help you some money right?  While only tinkering around the edges of what they could do to reduce energy use, chances are you will want to use them.  But should you wait until your existing standard (incandescent) light bulbs have blown first before replacing them, or replace them with the shiny new ones straight away?

It depends where you stand.  Many would instinctively feel that disposing of something that is doing the job perfectly well before it’s bust is not the right environmental choice.  Unlike a boiler which will lose its efficiency with time; a light bulb will work and then it will blow.  Additionally the bulb contains metal, took a certain amount of energy to produce and can’t easily be recycled.  However, counterintuitively perhaps if you want to save energy (and consequently money) then it really is worth replacing those old bulbs straight away.

The reasons for replacing old bulbs straight away are simple.  Low energy bulbs (compact fluorescents or LEDs) will produce the same amount of light as standard (incandescent) bulbs, last at least 10 times longer and use around 80% less electricity.  You might want to keep a few for emergencies but the rest can be binned as they can’t be recycled.  Remember to put them in the general waste, best wrapped in something such as newspaper to prevent hurting yourself or ripping the bin liner.  They can’t be recycled with glass bottles as they are made of a different type of glass as well in addition to containing metal.

That all sounds good, but it’s a shame to throw away these light bulbs isn’t it – is there anything else you can use them for?  Well if you are feeling particularly creative you could consider making some art with them.

Bulbs Unlimited sell kits to make your own artwork…

Bulbs Unlimited lights

Alternatively, if you really have nothing better to do with your time why not just decorate you old bulb as your favourite character.  For Christmas, may I introduce Ruldolph!

For more info on low energy lighting, see B&Q’s buying guide
Or to buy see the Megaman range

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