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Recolight challenge dismissed

An industry figure has called for an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation into the lamp recycling sector after the settlement of a legal action against a producer compliance scheme.

The industry insider was speaking following the end of court action brought by a lamp wholesaler and recycler against four 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.

The firms accused Recolight and its owners, manufacturers Phillips Electronics UK, GE Lighting, Osram and Havell Sylvania UK, of anticompetitive behaviour and breaching WEEE regulations by refusing to accept responsibility for lamps collected or processed by CEF and EWRG. 

Recolight strongly denied the claims.

The case was described by lawyers for the defendants as “arguably the most complex piece of antitrust litigation currently active in the English High Court”.

In October, Recolight issued a statement saying the proceedings had been dismissed. It said: “The Recolight board is pleased to report that the claims brought against us and our four founder members by EWRG and CEF for breach of the WEEE Regulations and competition law have been dismissed by the Court on agreed terms.”

A lawyer for the claimants said there had not been any proceedings in front of a judge.

The industry source said there were serious concerns in the sector the case had not been settled in a public hearing, and that the costs of the settlement from the case could be passed to consumers, other compliance schemes and recyclers.

They asked: “Is the time now right for the OFT to take a look at the whole set up?”

In response, Nigel Harvey, CEO of Recolight told MRW: “We were very pleased that the case against us was dismissed by the court on agreed terms. Recolight runs regular and competitive tendering for recycling services and doesn’t comment on commercial issues.

“We are the only producer compliance scheme to fund free of charge lamp recycling for businesses, and we are committed to keeping this hazardous waste stream out of landfill.”

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