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A closer look at the Balcan Lamp Recycling System

What is your technology?

The Balcan Lamp Recycling System

How does it work?

With numerous regulations directing the safe and effective disposal of spent lighting products, the Balcan Lamp Recycling System helps companies meet waste legislations using an environmentally friendly process.  

Either whole or crushed lamps are fed into the system and sorted into glass, end caps made of metal or plastic and the mercury bearing phosphor powder. During the separation process the mercury bearing powder is removed leaving typical contamination <1ppm, which is the lowest from a system like this.

Unlike other systems the powder has a low glass content which makes further treatment to remove the mercury from it much more cost effective.  The powder also contains an 11-15% rare earth metal content and therefore has value.  It can be sent, with or without the mercury to companies such as Osram or Rhodia for further treatment.

The cleaned glass can be used in concrete, fiberglass production and an aggregate material.   

Where would it ideally be used?

The systems are used worldwide by lamp recyclers and lamp manufacturers as well as Balcan itself.

How is it different?

It is a totally dry process, which is the industrial standard for lamp recyclers. This means that lamps and bulbs are broken, cleaned and separated without using water. A dry process ensures cleaner end materials, resulting in a higher percentage of resalable products. 

Some homemade systems use water to wash components to remove hazardous contents and then try and dry the components.  The resultant end products are often damp or a sludge, requiring significant thermal input to make them suitable for total recovery.  Use of heat should be avoided during the separation and cleaning stages to avoid the mercury vaporizing.  Wet systems could also lead to significant environmental consequences if the water is leaked or spilt.

Where has it been used?

Balcan systems have been supplied to companies across the world, from Latin America and Australia to Indonesia, South Africa and the USA. Balcan is also an approved supplier to multiple UK compliance schemes.


Each system can be customised to meet individual requirements and exact customer needs. Individual crushing units start from £7,500.00 for the controlled volume reduction of lamps, which in turn leads to lower transportation costs, with complete custom recycling plants priced up to £350,000.00

Any savings?

The Balcan Lamp Recycling System ensures that all government regulations are met – so avoiding fines - as well as providing a cost effective and environmentally-friendly disposal service. Older style systems require separation of different lamp types which in today’s market is not cost effective.  Likewise, being able to dual feed and handle whole and crushed lamps is a huge advantage.

What about maintenance?

Daily and weekly checks are no more than the equivalent to checking oil and tyre pressures in your car.  Replacement parts are available off the shelf and the system is designed from an operator’s point of view, with a control panel that clearly identifies any trouble area and the reason.

What is its life span?

As quality and durability are key build considerations, a typical system will last between 10 and 15 years, with general maintenance.  Being modular, any parts requiring replacement or upgrade can be swapped out.

How is it future-proofed?

The system is modular, meaning each plant can be extended, developed or tailored to handle new products. This means that, regardless of developments, the system can be easily adjusted to effectively recycle new lamps or bulbs.

How many have you sold and where?

Balcan has supplied the system to clients globally.

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