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Lights Out at Bulb Plant

  • Posted by on September 9, 2010 in Business
  • In a story that encapsulates all of the difficult issues involved in the global shift toward sustainability, the last remaining General Electric plant in the US that produces incandescent lights will be closed this month. A 2007 law essentially outlawed the old-fashioned bulbs that were made ubiquitous by Thomas Edison.

    In a perfect world, the 200 jobs lost at the Virginia factory would be replaced at a newer, greener American plant that makes eco-friendly compact florescent bulbs. Of course, no one said the world was perfect, and even though CFL technology was first developed in the US during the oil crisis of the 1970s — by a GE employee, no less — the bulbs are now almost exclusively produced in China.

    Not quite Obama's vision for a green economy replete with new jobs for struggling Americans, but it's a necessary step to change. And domestic demand could help create a CFL industry in the US as well. Ellis Yan, the Chinese immigrant who perfected the current CFL design and now produces them overseas, hopes to open a US plant someday. “Retailers tell me people ask for ‘Made in the USA,’” he says.

    (via Washington Post)

    Photo: James Bowe/Flickr (via MNN)


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