Plasma TVs are about to be banned as the EU is expected to pass legislation this spring that will ban the high energy using flatscreen TVs.
The reason being is they can use up to four times more electricity and produce up to four times more carbon dioxide compared to the older style cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs.
According to Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), those plasma TVs consuming the highest energy and which do not conform to EU set minimum standards for TVs will be phased out. Others will be labelled with the their energy ratings to enable consumers to see which are most energy efficient.
LCD flatscreen TVs are unlikely to be banned as they are much more energy efficient compared with the plasma TVs.
Plasma TVs are highly popular, not just in homes but also in pubs and other public places. Today between us all in Britain we have some 60 million TVs. These, coupled with the many other electrical devices we now use, means that the electricity required to power them all has significantly risen.
It is this rise in the energy consumption that the EU is trying to tackle by removing devices considerd to use too much energy and introducing low energy using devices.
We have already seen the introduction of low-energy light bulbs or CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) and by 2011 all of the traditional incandescent light bulbs will have been phased out.
Retailers have already voluntarily stopped buying in the conventional 100w light bulbs and this has led to recent panic buying by some shoppers, keen to get their hands on the last stocks of the 100w lightbulb.
The new low-energy light bulbs though have mercury in them and the Environment Department advises the public to take them to council recycling plants. Here they will be sent to specialist entities for recycling. This no doubt involves considerable use of energy both in the transportation and the physical recycling, not to mention the charge made by the recycling company to the council.
I wonder, will we get higher council bills as a result of increased specialist recycling needs?
I also wonder, once the energy used to undertake recycling is taken into consideration, what is the overall energy saving compared with the traditional light bulb?
Whilst no doubt the removal of high energy consuming devices, whether plasma TVs or traditional light bulbs, will help in the battle to save the plant, some consideration needs to be given to the net position once recycling requirements are taken into consideration.
Finally there’s the practical usage side. How user-friendly for example are low-energy light bulbs, with their rapid flicker, harsher light and more expensive cost? But that’s for another day!