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OFT complaint over Recolight 'cartel'

A lamp recycling firm has lodged a complaint with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) alleging manufacturers are operating a “cartel”.

The complaint, submitted by Manchester-based Mercury Recycling, came as concerns were raised in the House of Commons about the sector recycling compliance scheme, Recolight.

Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston, Kate Green, asked the Government for a debate on the “apparent abuse of the electrical equipment recycling market”.

She said: “Four multinationals—Sylvania, GE, Osman and Philips—appear to be seeking to subvert the effect of the forthcoming recast waste electrical and electronic equipment directive by operating a cartel in relation to the recycling of waste electrical equipment, which is putting the viability of independent recycling companies and local jobs, including in my constituency, at risk.”

Lord Barnett, non-executive chairman of Mercury Recycling welcomed the MP’s intervention and confirmed the firm had submitted a complaint to the OFT.

Barnett said it was currently “uneconomic” to promote lamp recycling in “what should be a growing market”. 

“Unfortunately this has caused great hardship to companies such as ours and resulted in 40% of our staff being made redundant.” 

Last month MRW reported industry concerns following the end of court action brought by a lamp wholesaler and recycler against the manufacturers and their producer compliance scheme Recolight.

Proceedings were brought at the High Court by City Electrical Factors (CEF) and Electrical Waste Recycling Group (EWRG) in 2010, but in October Recolight issued a statement saying the proceedings had been dismissed.

The firms had accused Recolight and its owners, the lamp manufacturers, of anticompetitive behaviour and breaching WEEE regulations by refusing to accept responsibility for lamps collected or processed by CEF and EWRG.

Nigel Harvey, CEO of Recolight said the firm strongly denied the allegations.

“Recolight operates in full compliance with all applicable legislation, and fund the recycling of considerably more waste lamps than required by the WEEE regulations.

“We recently launched a competitive tender to select recyclers for 2013, and encourage all lamp recyclers to take part in the process. We do this in order to ensure we secure the best possible service on behalf of all of our members and our network of over 2000 collection points. Our objective is, and always has been, to keep this hazardous waste stream out of landfill, and to make it as easy as possible for businesses and consumers to recycle.”


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