UK lighting industry takes a WEEE step

Light bulb producers, waste management firms, launch joint venture in anticipation of EU law

The UK lighting and waste management industries today joined forces in an attempt to lift recycling rates for many kinds of end-of-life light bulbs. Britain is currently near the bottom of Europe's league table for lamp recycling, according to the scheme's backers. It needs to start preparing for the EU's directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), under which there will be legal pressure for all EU countries to recycle lamps and a wide variety of other equipment, they add.

Under the plan, a new non-profit company will develop recycling standards for gas discharge light bulbs such as fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescents as well as high-pressure mercury, high-pressure sodium, metal halide and low-pressure sodium lamps. About 20 lamp producers, waste management firms and small-scale recyclers are supporting the new company, which has been named Sustainalite.

According to Viv Goddard of GE Lighting, the scheme will eventually require participating companies to end all landfilling of certain types of lamps and to separate certain materials, such as mercury.

Follow Up:
Environmental Services Association, tel: +44 20 78 24 88 82; UK Lighting Industry Federation, tel: +44 20 86 75 54 32.

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