Provisional 2013 recycling figures released to WEEE schemes by the Environment Agency on 28 February 2014 show the UK lamp recycling rate increased from 39.5% in 2012 to 52.8% in 2013. The UK luminaire rate has also improved from 0.6% in 2012 to 2% in 2013.
Commenting on the news, Recolight chief executive Nigel Harvey said, “We are very pleased by the strong growth in lamp recycling figures. This is the UK’s best lamp recycling rate ever. The recast of the WEEE directive includes a national target for all WEEE categories of 45% by 2016 and 65% by 2019. The UK data shows that the lighting industry is well placed to meet these targets. It is particularly pleasing to note the strong year on year growth since 2008, when the rate stood at 23.2%. The Recolight collection network now includes 2300 sites, and has made a major contribution to the growth.”
It should be noted the growth in rate in 2013 is partly the result of a declining tonnage of new gas discharge lamps being placed on the market, although there was also a material increase in total tonnage recycled. In 2014, the rate is expected to drop as a result of the inclusion of LED lamps in the same WEEE category as gas discharge lamps.
Turning to the luminaire recycling rate, Nigel Harvey said, “The tonnage of luminaires collected through the UK WEEE system continues to be low, at 2%. That means some 98% is not counted as WEEE – and probably goes through alternative routes such as scrap metal dealers. The applicable recycling standards for scrap metal are lower – for example there is no mandatory recovery rate.”
Commenting on Recolight’s contribution to luminaire recycling, he added, “Recolight only launched its own luminaire compliance service during 2013. In spite of this standing start, Recolight and its members were responsible for over 40% of the 984 tonnes of luminaires recycled as WEEE during 2013. However, despite this increase, the overall national recorded luminaire recycling rate of 2% remains too low.”
He concluded, “The 120 producer members of Recolight can be very proud that Recolight has recycled more waste lamps and luminaires in total than all other UK WEEE schemes put together, since the start of the WEEE regulations in 2007. Recolight was established in 2006 by Philips, Osram, GE lighting and Havells-Sylvania.”