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Planning for tougher recycling targets

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Forthcoming changes to the WEEE Directive are set to create tougher recycling targets for a range of products, including lighting, says compliance scheme Lumicom.

“Each generation of the WEE Directive serves to increase recycling levels and reduce the volume of waste sent to landfill, so this is something we should all welcome,” observed Lumicom CEO Ernest Magog. “Nevertheless, meeting stricter targets brings challenges so it makes sense to start planning now,” he added.


There are two key changes that will have a particularly marked impact.

From 2016 there will be a four-fold increase in the national recycling target. This means that what constitutes a good level of recycling today will not be acceptable in a few years’ time.

Also, as from 2018, the scope of the Regulations will change to what is known as an ‘open scope’ principle. This means that instead of listing all of the equipment that falls within the scope of the Directive, it will list the equipment that is not in scope in its annexes. Inevitably this will bring a great deal of equipment into scope that is not currently included – such as switch gear, internally illuminated signs and photovoltaic panels.

“To manage these changes we advise specifiers to check suppliers’ terms and conditions to ensure they are taking responsibility for the recycling of their products and not trying to pass it on to the customer,” Ernest Magog continued. “Also, check their compliance status and that they belong to a compliance scheme that has a fully functioning disposal infrastructure.

“It is also worth noting that when equipment comes in the form of a system, such as a fire safety system or lighting system, it is generally best from a recycling point of view to buy the complete system from one manufacturer and thereby simplify the recycling responsibility. And if that’s not practical, try to source all of the system components from members of the same compliance scheme,” he added.

Lumicom is a not-for-profit compliance scheme that specialises in lighting and is responsible for the recycling of over 97.5% of all of the luminaires going through approved recycling systems in the UK.


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