How to use the WEEE system to get lamp recycling free of charge

A lot has been done by the lighting industry to adopt a sustainable approach.

Facility Managers are benefiting from this, but they can benefit more, by using the UK’s WEEE regulations.

Why lighting needs to be recycled

Deployment of LED luminaires and lamps usually results in waste fluorescent lamps which contain mercury. This mercury is the reason they are classified as hazardous waste. To avoid the release of mercury to the environment it is important to maximise their recycling rate. All LED, florescent lamps and light fittings

are subject to Producer Responsibility as they are classified as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). That means the producers of new lamps are responsible for financing the recycling of waste lamps when they reach end of life. That financing obligation creates opportunities for those FM companies collecting waste lamps to access free of charge recycling through the UK’s WEEE system.

How FM companies can use WEEE

Producer Responsibility to access free lamp recycling

By law, lighting producers are required to be members of a WEEE compliance scheme like Recolight. The WEEE compliance scheme is responsible for managing its producer members’ recycling obligations under the regulation. The WEEE compliance scheme is the right organisation to collect and recycle the waste. They have the collection infrastructure and apply due diligence in the choice of correctly accredited recyclers Some WEEE schemes may specify a minimum quantity to qualify for

free collection and recycling. Recolight offers a completely free waste lamp collection service for companies collecting at least 1000 waste lamps/quarter. That includes free container, free collection and free recycling. Recolight can also provide certificates of recycling or destruction on request. These can be used to show your customer that their waste has been disposed of and recycled responsibly. In addition to the cost savings that

should be obtained through access to free recycling, there are other good reasons for FM companies getting waste electricals handled in this way: • Promoting that you take care of the displaced lighting can give you a competitive advantage for winning contracts.

• The hassle of arranging collection of waste is gone. Lamp recycling is costly, and so to get this funded by the supplier’s WEEE scheme is an excellent outcome.

• It usually results in better environmental outcomes. If treating the waste fittings is left to the local scrap dealer, there is a risk that they may not be treated correctly. A WEEE scheme is legally required to apply best available treatment methods to any WEEE they collect.

This approach also ensures that the

recycling is correctly recorded in the Governments WEEE recycling figures, published each year.

The lighting Industry and sustainability

There is no doubt that lighting has done a lot to promote sustainability. LED products have much longer lifetimes, far greater system efficacies, are more flexible and controllable, and vitally do not contain mercury. In time LED will materially reduce the

proportion of energy used for lighting. It is widely accepted that lighting accounts for around a fifth of electricity consumption. As LED products are more widely adopted, that proportion can be expected to fall significantly. The associated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is a vital contribution to sustainability. Lamp recycling rates in the UK have

grown faster than any other waste electrical equipment category, from 19% in 2008, to 48% in 2018. The lighting industry is unique in taking such an effective, sector specific approach to waste and recycling. The Lighting Industry can be justifiably proud of its recycling record, and this contribution to sustainability. This industry approach to sustainability

creates real opportunities for FM companies. That is both in the availability of free of charge recycling of the waste fluorescent lamps many FM companies continue to collect. But also by a better understanding of the contribution of lighting products to sustainability. To learn how Recolight can help visit

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