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Recolight: Light bulb "recycling tsunami" in two years time

In two or three years time there will be a light bulb recycling tsunami for energy-saving light bulbs as consumers start to recycle them, according to an industry expert.

From 1 September, 100 watt and frosted incandescent (or old-style) light bulbs will be phased out and replaced with energy-efficient alternatives such as compact florescent lamps. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has been working with all major retailers and UK energy suppliers in preparation.

Recolight is a WEEE compliance scheme for gas discharge lamps, which can be found in office, fluorescent and street lighting. Chief executive officer Nigel Harvey said that last year the Government encouraged utility companies to help consumers reduce energy consumption and provide energy-saving light bulbs and many householders were given free energy-saving light bulbs as part of this initiative. He added: There will be a significant increase in the recycling of energy-saving light bulbs over the next two or three years. We are preparing a number of steps to gear up to that.

He said that it will result in a major recycling tsunami but it will not be a problem to recycle the energy-saving light bulbs.

Harvey said that the old-style light bulbs are not defined as waste electrical and electronic equipment under the WEEE Regulations, and many householders end up throwing them away in black bins. But energy-saving light bulbs are defined as WEEE.

Speaking about the initiative to phase out traditional bulbs, Environment Minister Dan Norris said: This is great news for people who will pay less in electricity and even better news for the planet, as this will amount to one million tonnes of saved CO2 per year by 2020. We can no longer rely on light bulbs which waste 95 per cent of their energy as heat.

Environmental charity Green Alliance policy advisor Hannah Hislop said: People may wonder what the light bulb has done to deserve all this attention. The truth is that this iconic ban has to be just the start of better, greener products across the board, from air conditioning units and boilers to televisions and set top boxes. European Union consumers will be able to save even more money and energy if ambitious energy efficiency standards are set for all these products.

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