German "heatball" wheeze outwits EU light bulb ban
Fri Oct 15, 2010
BERLIN (Reuters) – A German entrepreneur is bypassing a European Union ban on light bulbs of more than 60 watts by marketing his own brand as mini heaters.
Siegfried Rotthaeuser and his brother-in-law have come up with a legal way of importing and distributing 75 and 100 watt light bulbs — by producing them in China, importing them as "small heating devices" and selling them as "heatballs."
To improve energy efficiency, the EU has banned the sale of bulbs of over 60 watts — to the annoyance of the mechanical engineer from the western city of Essen.
Rotthaeuser studied EU legislation and realized that because the inefficient old bulbs produce more warmth than light — he calculated heat makes up 95 percent of their output, and light just 5 percent — they could be sold legally as heaters.
On their website (http://heatball.de/), the two engineers describe the heatballs as "action art" and as "resistance against legislation which is implemented without recourse to democratic and parliamentary processes."
Costing 1.69 euros each ($2.38), the heatballs are going down well — the first batch of 4,000 sold out in three days.
Rotthaeuser has pledged to donate 30 cents of every heatball sold to saving the rainforest, which the 49-year-old sees as a better way of protecting the environment than investing in energy-saving lamps, which contain toxic mercury.
Interesting way to get around stupid laws like this one. The older style bulb is better in many respect then the newer style ones. The older style can last longer in situations where the light is turned on and off regularly. The new ones don't hold up as well in such situations, and burn out faster. In addition, they contain mercury, and as such, you can not just toss then in the trash. Where I live, there is not a system set up for easy disposal of the newer bulbs, and they will end up in the trash.