2017 target should mean free lamp recycling for all businesses


The government recently announced the 2017 waste lamp recycling target.  This is great news for businesses – most should be able to get their waste lamps recycled free of charge.

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations require manufacturers to fund the recycling of WEEE – including fluorescent lamps.  Each year, the Government sets a target for the tonnage of recycling that manufacturers must fund, through their WEEE schemes.  At the end of March 2017, the Government announced that the 2017 UK lamp recycling target was 6132 tonnes.

The Government chose this target as it is the total tonnage recycled in 2016.  By setting a target in 2017 at the same level of actual recycling undertaken in 2016, WEEE schemes will need to finance virtually all lamp recycling that takes place in 2017.

This is great news for businesses with waste lamps that need to be recycled.  In virtually all cases, particularly where they hold larger quantities, they should not need to pay anything.  To access the free service, it should simply be a matter of calling a WEEE scheme, such as Recolight, to ask for the service.  Most good schemes, that have lighting producer members, should be able to make the necessary arrangements.  That service may well include a free container, free collection, and free recycling.  Electrical contractors, wholesalers, lighting maintenance companies, and facilities maintenance companies should all be able to access the same free service.

As the roll-out of LED integrated luminaires continues, it is vital to ensure that the waste fluorescent lamps that arise are properly recycled.  It would be tragic if a move to more sustainable LED lighting was not underpinned by ensuring that the waste fluorescents are properly recycled. 

Nigel Harvey is CEO of Recolight, a not-for-profit lighting WEEE scheme.