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OFT drops complaint against Recolight

A complaint against Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) lamp compliance scheme Recolight has been dropped by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) without a formal investigation.

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Manchester-based lamp recycling firm Mercury Recycling lodged a complaint with the OFT last year alleging that manufacturers were operating a “cartel”, MRW reported. The firm asked for an inquiry into claims of anti-competitive practices carried out under the support of compliance scheme Recolight.

In advance of the complaint, Kate Green, Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston, told Parliament that the founders of Recolight - Sylvania, GE, Osram and Philips - were operating a cartel in relation to the recycling of waste electronics and were damaging the viability of independent recycling companies.

However, a spokesperson for the OFT has told MRW that a case investigating the allegations against Recolight was never formally opened and consideration of the complaint was dropped in June.

“We look at all the complaints we receive on merit,” he said, “And we deemed it [the complaint against Recolight] as something that wasn’t an administrative priority for our enforcement teams, so it was never opened.”

He told MRW that the OFT “could not identify the concerns that this particular complainant had spelt out and because of that we decided that wasn’t something that we were going to follow through”. But he said that if other complaints are submitted with more substantive evidence, there would be “significant consideration” given to them.

The spokesperson added: “We wrote to the complainant in June stating, in short, that having considered their complaint, we did not consider that it was a priority for the OFT to launch an investigation at the time.” 

Recolight made no comment on the OFT dropping the complaint. In its statement at the time of the complaint being lodged, it said: “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.”

Mercury Recycling did not respond to MRW’s request for comment.

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