Light bulbs and lamps
This guidance is relevant if you manufacture, import or sell light bulbs or lamps.
Restrictions on the type of lamps and light bulbs you can manufacture, import or sell are being introduced to improve energy efficiency and reduce mercury emissions from lamps.
The restrictions have been introduced in stages until only the most efficient types of bulb are left on the market.
What you must do
Phase out incandescent and conventional halogen lamps
Traditional filament incandescent bulbs and conventional halogen bulbs used for lighting whole rooms, known as 'non-directional' lamps, are being phased out. This does not include spotlight bulbs or other special use bulbs.
Traditional filament incandescent bulbs use a thread-like conductor surrounded by an inert gas. They are very inefficient and have a short lifespan.
Conventional halogen bulbs use a similar thread-like conductor to incandescent bulbs, but use halogen gas.
You must not produce or import any incandescent bulbs or lamps.
If you are a retailer you will no longer be able to purchase 100 watt traditional filament incandescent bulbs.
Meet minimum light bulb and lamp energy efficiency ratings
If you produce or import any household products containing light bulbs or lamps, you must ensure that they meet minimum energy efficiency standards.
- Lamps and bulbs which have an equivalent light output of 100 watts or above must have a minimum C class energy efficiency rating.
- Non-clear lamps (eg frosted or pearl glass) must have a minimum A class energy efficiency rating.
- All clear replacement bulbs must have a minimum B class energy efficiency rating from 1 September 2018. Replacement conventional halogen bulbs with a C class energy efficiency rating will be banned.
If you are a retailer you can continue selling old bulbs that do not meet these energy efficiency standards until you have sold all your stock.
Low voltage halogen lamps and halogen lamps that use xenon gas and have a C class or lower energy efficiency rating will be banned after 2018.
Lamp types that will be permitted after 2018 include:
- halogen lamps using infrared coating that have an A or B class energy efficiency rating
- compact fluorescent lamps that meet the required design requirements
- light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Meet design requirements for compact fluorescent lamps
Compact fluorescent lamps are self-contained gas exchange lamps which can be used in conventional light fittings. They use a coiled fluorescent tube, often enclosed by a glass envelope.
- lifespan (continuous use and switch cycles)
- premature failure rate
- starting and warm up time
- radiance output.
The UK has its own regulations governing the efficiency of lightbulbs
Provide product information
If you produce or import non-directional household bulbs or lamps, used for lighting whole rooms, you must provide information for end-users on the light bulb packaging and on an open access website.
You don't have to do this for bulbs that were banned after 1 September 2012 (for example, incandescent bulbs).
The information must include the lamp's:
- power and wattage
- rated luminous flux
- lifespan (hours and switch cycles)
- temperature in Kelvin
- warm up time.
If the lamp contains mercury you must include guidance on how to dispose of the lamp and how to clean it up if it breaks.
Provide product information on special purpose lamps
A special purpose lamp is a lamp that is not intended for illuminating whole rooms.
If you manufacture or import special purpose lamps you must clearly display on the packaging:
- the intended purpose of the lamp
- that the lamp is not suitable for household use.
Reduce hazardous substances in lamps
All lamps must not contain more than 1.23 mg of mercury.
They must also comply with the restriction of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS) regulations. Read our RoHS guidance.
Dispose of gas discharge lamps safety
Energy efficient lamps are covered by the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations. They must be disposed of correctly at the end of their life. If you produce or import energy saving lamps you must join a producer compliance scheme (PCS).