California Bans CFL Light Bulbs

Nov 21, 2022

What California’s Ban of CFL Light Bulbs Means for Businesses

You’ve seen the headlines. CFL light bulb bans started making their way through state legislatures last year, and California has become the second state to sign one into law. Vermont’s light bulb ban passed in May, forbidding sales of CFLs as of February 2023. California’s phase-out begins in January 2024.

All this legal talk has likely brought up a lot of questions: Why are states enacting light bulb bans? Are CFL light bulbs dangerous? What are the choices for more environmentally friendly light bulbs? What will these laws mean for my home and my business?

The pros at TCP have answers. Let’s look into the specifics of the California light bulb restrictions, the links between CFL light bulbs and mercury, and how you can choose the most eco-friendly light bulbs for your residential and commercial spaces.

Why Did California Ban CFL Light Bulbs?

California has long been known as a front-runner on environmental causes. It’s also a U.S. leader when it comes to buying light bulbs, comprising one of the largest lighting markets in the country. Because compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and linear fluorescent lamps (LFLs) — aka those long, slender tubes in overhead fixtures — contain the known toxin mercury, the CFL light bulb ban is framed as a protection for both waste workers and the wider environment. It also aims to reduce carbon pollution and energy costs for the state. That’s because the energy used by CFL bulbs vs. LED bulbs is about 75% higher. 

In other words, California expects to save roughly $1 billion on electricity bills and 5,600 gigawatt hours of electrical use while eliminating 950,000 metric tons of CO2 pollution annually, thanks to this CFL light bulb ban.

What This Light Bulb Ban Means for Your Home

Have you been diligently replacing the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs in your home with curly CFL light bulbs? Well, this California ban is your clarion call to change tacks again. The future is coming, and it’s powered by LEDs. Need some light bulb 101? TCP has your back. Your first order of business is to learn how to read a light bulb box so you can be sure of what you’re buying. Then, simply make a habit of swapping in LED bulbs for those CFLs. The best replacement choices are A19 LED bulbs, which have a standard base and come in a wide array of lumens, colors and features like dimmability. The upfront cost of LEDs is a little higher, but you can easily calculate the savings you’ll see in the long run with lower utility bills and much longer bulb lifespans. Just be sure to check the EPA regulations in your state for safe disposal of CFL  light bulbs’ mercury.

How Things Banned in California Affect Your Business

If you own or manage a business anywhere in the U.S., these California light bulb restrictions may impact your bottom line. That’s because of two main realities: California legislation often influences similar laws to crop up in other states, and you likely buy products that are either manufactured in or sold by companies located in California. Your best tactic is to be proactive. Start replacing any incandescent or CFL light bulbs with energy-efficient commercial LED lighting options today. TCP carries a wide range of industrial and office light solutions for big and small businesses. We can also help you find utility rebates that can make the conversion even more cost-effective.

Are There Other Potential Bans Coming?

California is the most populous of all the United States, which often means that things banned in California will soon be banned elsewhere. Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada and other states have already banned linear fluorescent lamps, and several others have legislation in the works for similar prohibitions. As we noted earlier, the future will be almost entirely lit by LED bulbs.

Explore Environmentally Friendly Light Bulb Solutions at TCP

TCP Lighting was founded more than 20 years ago on a commitment to innovation and leadership. We’re also committed to being green with a wide range of ENERGY STAR® certified products that are rigorously tested by EPA-recognized third-party labs. You’ll find a wide array of the most eco-friendly light bulbs and fixtures at TCP for every space in your home, office, retail store or industrial facility. Face the future with the confidence of TCP’s environmentally friendly light bulbs and lighting solutions.

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