Say goodbye to 60-watt light bulbs

All 60-watt light bulbs are to be removed from the market Thursday as a total EU ban on their sale came into force.

In 2008, the EU Parliament announced plans to phase out the manufacture of traditional energy-guzzling light bulbs over a four year period to get householders to swap them for greener alternatives.

It means that under new regulations, shops will no longer be allowed to buy or import 60-watt incandescent and halogen bulbs. Retailers can continue selling off their stock until they run out.

The phase-out began with the ultra-bright 100-watt bulb being culled in 2009 followed by the 75-watt last year.

MPs want the bulbs to be replaced by long-lasting compact fluorescent lamps that consume 75% less energy than incandescent lamps, or efficient halogen lamps which provide between 25% and 50% of energy savings.

[Related feature: Twelve ways to reduce your carbon footprint]

However, the plans have been met with criticism. It has been claimed that lighting alternatives are more costly and trigger health problems for people with light-sensitive medical conditions, possibly causing them migraines and seizures.

The European Commission explained why phasing out the light bulb, which has been around since the 19th century, is necessary. Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: “This groundbreaking measure delivers a clear message about the EU's commitment to reach its energy efficiency and climate protection targets. By replacing last century lamps by more performant technologies, European homes will keep the same quality of lighting, while saving energy, CO2 and money.”

Upon hearing the news of the outlaw, one wholesaler Lighbulbs Direct described on their blog how customers were panic buying during the transitional period.

Brits have until September next year to purchase 40-watt and 25-watt bulbs - the last types of bulb to be phased out completely.