Here’s a concept for you: a light bulb with no filament, no mercury, no glass, and no waste — a bulb that can, in fact, go right into the curbside recycling upon the conclusion of its natural life. That’s the Eco Light paper light bulb by designer Tien-Ho Hsu, which won Yanko Design‘s Liteon Award.
This efficient light source for the home makes ingenious use of an emulsion coating that emits light when put into contact with electricity. This emulsion is coated on stiff paper shaped somewhat like a traditional incandescent. When it’s time for a new light bulb, simply screw in your paper light bulb and flip the switch; the paper lights up, illuminating any lamp outfitted with a standard socket.
Part of what makes the Eco Light so clever is the attention that’s been given to the integration of product display and functionality. At the store, the Eco Light is designed to hang easily, with all components integrated into a single surface, the base of the bulb anchored in the perforated middle section of the bulb. When it’s time to put the bulb to work, the user simply pops out that base, frees the perforated section, and anchors both sections of paper in the base, which screws directly into the socket. (The perpendicular angle of the perforated section allows the bulb to shine light in all directions.)
Equally satisfying is the knowledge that, when it’s time to change the light bulb, there’s no need to find some sort of specialized recycling center (as is often the case with CFLs), or guilt about heavy metals when tossing them out with the trash. Here’s a concept design that shows how simple future tech could really be.