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New system for recycling lamps described as 'an environmental nonsense', by Balcan Engineering - COMMENT UPDATE

A new system for the collection and recycling of waste lamps by lamp manufacturers has been described as a wasted opportunity and an environmental nonsense by lamp recycling specialist Balcan Engineering. The Recolight Compliance Scheme which was formed by the UK lamp industry to help lamp producers meet their Waste and Electrical and Electronic Equipment obligations, has come under scathing criticism from Balcan. The company claim that the scheme is not environmentally friendly enough. The scheme involves the collection of whole lamps, which are stored in large steel and plastic containers, from designated collection points. Lorries collecting them have to carry a forklift because of the size of the containers. Balcan managing director John Rinfret said: It seems environmental nonsense to add fleets of large, heavy vehicles to our congested roads unnecessarily. Our customers have made it clear that they share this view. In response to these claims a Recolight spokesman said: The Recolight model is based on meeting the requirements of all participants in the lamp market as a whole. It is built on existing, well established practices and will continue to be developed in terms of both cost and environmental efficiency. There are different lamp recycling technologies available, each of which has strengths and weaknesses. Recolights purchasing policy has always been to make use of all approved technologies via suppliers using approved authorised treatment facilities (AATFs). Research carried out by Balcan highlighted how the transport arrangements of the scheme could add to the environmental problems. The company has calculated that over a year each lorry is carrying around 750 tonnes of weight and extra weight is added when the weight of the containers is added. Rinfret said: We cannot understand why all of this was not taken into account when the scheme was being discussed with government departments. It has been claimed that the lamps must remain whole so that the glass can be recycled. We have been categorically told by Philips [lamp manufacturers] in Holland that they have never been able to import any recycled glass from the UK that is clean enough for their lamp manufacture anyway. Balcan offers a complete on-site pre-crushing and waste collection and recycling service at its plant in Lincolnshire. Fortunately, we are still very busy as our customers across the UK appreciate the ease, safety and convenience of our service. What a pity that Recolights scheme, which is supposed to be environmentally driven, is in fact environmentally damaging, Rinfret added. Image: John Rinfret, managing director of Balcan Comment: With lamp suppliers now charging an extra 15pence per lamp why should we have have to pay twice for the service? Will the electrical suppliers and all their shops have to be licenced waste transfer sites? will the companies need to be registerd waste carriers? Posted by Alan Yeomans, Atkins Health Assest Management, 20/08/07

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