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Lights Out : General Electric Closes the Last U.S. Light Bulb Factory

submitted on September 29, 2010 by HouTex in "Member's Lounge"
Midget's CFL offer discussion topic reminded me of the sad news I heard recently.

Last Friday GE closed their 455,000-square-foot plant on 57 acres in Winchester, VA - and the last 200 workers there will lose their jobs.

The plant closing was triggered by Washington lawmakers’ action that bans ordinary incandescent bulbs by 2014, forcing replacement mainly with compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs.

What you may not realize is that these small glass spiral-twisted CFL tubes are made overseas. So the lost U.S. jobs will not be recovered in manufacturing the new bulbs. One by one, GE light bulb plants have closed down across the country this year as the company moves to production of the more expensive compact fluorescents with cheap labor overseas.

You may also have noticed that disposing of the new bulbs presents a new environmental problem. Opponents of CFLs cite the use of mercury in the bulbs, which can cause problems when they shatter. It seems that in the name of going "green" we are creating a new waste hazard. Eeek

GE officials say the market for incandescent bulbs has declined by half over the past five years. Some of Winchester's products that are exempt from the legislation, such as three-way bulbs and appliance bulbs, will be consolidated at GE Lighting's plant in Monterrey, Mexico.

Truth is, 85 percent of light bulbs sold in America are still traditional incandescent bulbs. Because they are cheaper. Because CFLs don’t last as long as advertised. And because CFLs are hard to dispose of. Which means consumers will be in for a rude awakening in 2014.

  • 81308
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    Posted by midget on September 29, 2010
    [reply] 2 0
    I'm gonna miss those incandescent light bulbs. The CFl bulbs are more expensive but they do last longer than the other bulbs. I have one cfl in my kitchen that has been ticking for 2 years now.
    • HouTex
      Posted by HouTex on September 29, 2010
      [reply] 1 0
      I've noticed that the CFLs aren't as "instant on" as the regular incandescent bulbs, they seem to warm up and slowly get brighter. You kind of have to get used to it, you're expecting bright light as soon as you flip the switch and that doesn't happen immediately.
    • 81402
    • mooncow728
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      Posted by mooncow728 on September 29, 2010
      [reply] 2 0
      I don't know where you live but if you have a Meijer around try going there for the CFLs. I find a generic Meijer brand on sale alot for $0.50 each. I stock up at that point but always keep the regular bulbs around too. I have a few lamps that won't work with the CFLs and 2 of the rooms in my house operate on a dimmer which also won't take them. I guess I need to start hoarding incandescents. Big Grin
  • 81366
    Posted by WhattaDealBlog on September 29, 2010
    [reply] 4 0
    Going green with CFL is not adding mercury to our environment actually its the opposite. Its reducing mercury from our environment. Over the course of 1 light bulb being switched to CFL you are saving roughly 4mg of mercury (which is more than twice the mercury in the bulb btw) from the reduction of electricity needed to light the bulb. As the majority of our electricity in the US is created by burning coal, which releases mercury into the air.

    And yes a CFL bulb should be recycled, but if you are being "Green" shouldn't you also be recycling your older incandescent bulbs as well?

    If every home in America replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL, in one year it would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes. That would prevent the release of greenhouse gas emissions equal to that of about 800,000 cars.

    And yes Americans losing jobs which are going overseas do suck. But that is the standard for like 80% of our manufactured goods today. So its not really a new issue. And who is to say that if we continued to make incandescent bulbs and not CFLS that these jobs wouldn't eventually being leaving the US anyways.

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