The Electrical Review team last week attended an event, organised by Recolight (a UK specialist compliance scheme for the lighting industry), to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the WEEE regulations.
Recolight chief executive, Nigel Harvey, commented on the milestones Recolight has reached: “Recolight’s passion for and dedication to lamp recycling is clear from the figures. We have funded the recycling of over 175 million lamps since July 2007, and lamp recycling rates have increased from 27.2% in 2008 to 39.5% in 2012. Since the beginning of 2010 we have also seen our membership more than double from 56 to over 127 members, with a 16% increase in the last 12 months alone. We have a diverse range of members from the largest companies in the lighting sector right through to those just entering the market.”
Business waste collections are at the heart of what Recolight does. Harvey continued, “There are now over 1470 B2B collection points in the Recolight network, of which more than 370 are open and available for any business to use on a free of charge basis. Including our consumer collection points, in total we now have over 2300 collection points right across the UK – up by 17% over the last 12 months.”
Recognising the importance of the circular economy, Harvey said: “In an exciting development for 2013, we are now redistributing the phosphor powders captured during the recycling process to our members, enabling them to extract the vital rare earths essential in the production of new lamps.”
“Our consumer collection point network has grown to over 800 locations. We have been working to raise consumer awareness of the need to recycle low-energy light bulbs through all key social media channels as well as through the filming of a witty video starring our mascot Bertie Bulb”
Looking to the future, Harvey noted there are major changes in store for business and consumer lamp recycling. “The government’s WEEE Consultation closed last week. Recolight has been pleased to be part of the Joint Trade Association (JTA) which has represented views of producers right across the electronics industry.”
“We are pleased that the government has recognised the seismic shift currently taking place in the lighting sector and included a proposal in the consultation to put LEDs and gas discharge lamps in the same category, avoiding the possibility of an orphan waste stream.”
Looking back at the other successes in the last year, Harvey commented: “We were thrilled to win the Recycling and Waste Management Business of the year at the 2012 National Recycling Awards. It is an award that celebrates the great team at Recolight, as well as the foresight of our founding members, Philips, Osram GE and Havells-Sylvania who created the platform for all that Recolight has achieved.”
Harvey concluded by saying: “This is a very exciting time for the WEEE recycling industry. This time next year the government will not only have decided on the new regulations but they will have implemented them. Recolight is doing all it can to ensure that lamp recycling is made as easy and as accessible as possible. Achieving the higher targets set out in the new WEEE directive will require a joint effort, and Recolight makes its collection point network accessible to any organisation with waste lamps to recycle.”
The recast WEEE Regulations will come into force on 1 January 2014, and Electrical Review will be keeping its readers informed as and when news on the changes is released.