Two key members of the California legislature have joined with Californians Against Waste and other environmental organizations in calling for phase out the use of inefficient lighting sources (such as incandescent bulbs), while reducing the use of toxic materials and increasing recycling opportunities.
The environmental and economic consequences of artificial lighting are enormous. Lighting consumes 20 percent of our electricity use in the U.S., and costs California consumers and businesses more than $6.3 billion annually. The average California household spends $816 annually to power lights in their home. A shift away from inefficient incandescent lights to compact fluorescent and LED lighting could easily cut those costs in half.
CAW has proposed legislation that would include efforts to set up lighting efficiency goals in the state, while also phasing out the purchasing of inefficient lighting sources, including incandescent bulbs by 2012 and the sale of them by 2018.
Assembly Member Lloyd Levine, who chairs the Assembly Utilities Committee and Assembly Member Jared Huffman, who chairs the Assembly Toxics Committee, have each expressed support for elements of CAW's legislative package, and are each planning to introduce legislation in the next 30 days.
"I'm pleased that the two key committee chairman with jurisdiction over this issue in the Assembly have recognized the environmental and economic necessity of addressing this issue. It's critical that we pursue a comprehensive solution that harnesses market forces to reduce the pollution--including toxic pollution--and wasted energy associated with our lighting choices, while explaining to the public why this proposal makes enormous financial sense for them," said CAW Executive Director Mark Murray.
Both incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs contain hazardous materials and are thus banned from disposal in California. Therefore, reducing the use of toxic mateirals and establishing and financing convenient recycling opportunities, including take back by retailers, are essential when considering this new lighting future.
Jim Sanders of the Sacramento Bee reports on the legislature looking into phasing out the use of incandescent bulbs.
"They're cheaper for the consumer, they save the state money and they're better for the environment," [Asm. Lloyd] Levine said of energy-efficient bulbs.
Legislation is needed because many consumers, faced with a much cheaper retail price for a traditional bulb, don't realize that an energy-efficient model can burn 10 times longer and save perhaps $55 per bulb in the long run, Levine said.
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