25 August 2023 was a day to celebrate, as the final phase-out of mercury-containing T5 and T8 fluorescent tubes came into effect. A decisive reason why I founded the company German LED Tech 12 years ago was the demonstrable increase in mercury content in German landfills. In one of my former functions as operator of a reactivation plant for activated carbon in Premnitz (Land Brandenburg), I was confronted with ever higher mercury levels. Research showed that mercury-containing lamps, which were usually disposed of with normal household waste, had a considerable share in this. Since 2011, the RoHS Directive has actually banned the use of mercury in lamps.
For many years, the luminaire industry succeeded in repeatedly obtaining exceptions to preserve the toxic and power-guzzling fluorescent tube. Although LED technology has long been a healthy and energy-saving alternative. Even today, many fluorescent tubes still hang in industrial buildings and in the public sector. Irresponsible in my view. Especially since a 1:1 replacement by means of LED retrofit according to DIN EN 62776 can be realised easily and quickly and healthy LED lamps are also produced in Germany and Europe. This would reduce total electricity consumption in Germany alone by 9%. The EU has enforced the ban on fluorescent tubes, companies and the public sector must now take responsibility and convert as quickly as possible!