Currently, only around 20% of lamp waste is collected in the UK, but Enlightened Lamp Recyclings (ELR) new plant in Redhill, Surrey, which has recently been commissioned hopes to help push that figure much higher.
The company has enlisted the help of local recycling solutions provider Reco-Vie, which will act as its logistics partner, collecting waste from around the UK.
And while regulations on hazardous waste came into effect in July, the implementation of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive in January means that the stream will be collected in increasing volumes.
Reco-Vie technical director Mark Hadley said: The plant hopes to become a significant player in the market with an initial aim of securing between 5-10% of it. At the moment, the UK doesnt recycle a great level of the waste, but looking at countries such as Germany and Benelux, who are already recovering between 40-60%, progress can be made and fast.
We hope to get Enlighteneds plant up to near the 12 million mark in the next three or four years. However, the first year [of the WEEE Directive] will be very much about education, and we may only collect around half a million. But once people start understanding requirements, we should see exponential growth in this country.
The Redhill plant will also distil the mercury from collected lamps. While most operations pass on the substance, ELR has invested in technology to deal with it on site.
And units will come from all over the country, with Reco-Vie utilising contracts in three main domains.
We take waste from local authorities such as Lewisham Council. While this market is relatively small at the moment, it will involve members of the public bringing the waste and also us taking it from waste transfer stations.
Also, we deal with a number of big waste management companies who may generally not be geared up to deal with the stream themselves and utilities management companies who deal with putting new tubes in and taking old ones out on premises.
The market is there and developing quite steadily. And with regulations coming in, it is all about getting in touch with people as it all has to be recycled, added Hadley.