By mid-year 2011, the Federal Trade Commission will institute new packaging for light bulbs. The new packaging is modeled after the nutritional information tables found today on the back of food packaging. Light bulb packaging information will be divided among two panels. The front panel will feature information regarding energy cost and brightness while the back panel features the same information plus more technical information on color and toxic elements. The new light bulb packaging will clearly indicate light bulb brightness, energy cost, life hours, color temperature, wattage, and whether the bulb contains mercury or not. The Federal Trade commission is putting the new packaging in place to make light bulb purchasing a less confusing process, and to make the industry overall more consumer friendly. Traditional light bulb packaging has emphasized wattage. Wattage does not, however tell you anything about the color of the bulb, whether it contains toxic elements, or how many life hours the bulb has.
More importantly, the FTC’s revision of light bulb packaging will highlight the information most relevant to energy expenditure and factors concerning environmentally friendly light sources. The new packaging has producers of energy efficient light bulbs particularly excited because the new packaging will openly display the benefits of energy efficient bulbs. The long life and small energy draw of LEDs, for example, will be made clear to all consumers. The lighting costs feature will allow consumers to calculate how much money they will spend illuminating their homes. In general, the push to include more information on light bulb packaging is advantageous because it encourages consumers to further educate themselves about how light bulbs work, how they can work better, and what their options are.
Keep your eyes peeled for the new labels in the coming year and we’ll keep you posted!