Lightbulbs Made of Paper Eliminate Packaging

Eco Light paper lightbulb
Electroluminescent (EL) coated lightbulb made from paper reduces packaging and waste.

Tien-Ho Hsu / YankoDesign.com

Designer Tien-Ho Hsu has come up with a concept idea to reduce the amount of waste created by lightbulbs and their packaging. The solution, as this design presents, is an electroluminescent (EL) emulsion-covered paper that glows when hooked up to an electricity source.

paper lightbulb
The foot of the bulb slides into a special adapter which screws into a socket. Tien-Ho Hsu / YankoDesign.com

I have to say, I don't really get it. I don't like to bash concept ideas. I like to point out where they can improve and support the creative thinking behind various eco-alternatives. But with this one... I don't see how this could possibly work.

Could paper possibly glow bright enough to replace a 60-watt bulb? A 40-watt bulb? And, um, isn't paper kind of a fire hazard? I'm not even sure how a paper covered in an emulsion would even create a noticeable glow -- if someone can explain that process, that'd be appreciated.

paper lightbulb
Tien-Ho Hsu / YankoDesign.com

So the pros of this idea are definitely all about how the packaging waste is eliminated. I do love the design on this aspect -- the packaging literally is the product.

But the rest of it, I'm not so sure. And considering we now have lightbulbs that will last between 10 and 40 years depending on if they're CFLs or LEDs, it might be unnecessary. Is cardboard lightbulb packaging really an issue that needs tackling?

While I think this concept needs to be scrapped, the thinking behind it -- minimizing packaging and making the packaging part of the product -- is something I encourage. And, the design must not be too far off because according to Yanko Design, Eco Light is a 2011 Liteon Awards winning entry.

Back to the drawing board, with gusto!

paper lightbulb
Tien-Ho Hsu / YankoDesign.com