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Lamp recycling ‘bounces back’

Lamp recycling rates increased “significantly” in 2015, recovering from a big fall the previous year, according to Environment Agency (EA) figures for WEEE collection.

The rollout of LED lighting across business premises is believed to have caused the earlier slowdown, with many being sold but few needing to be recycled.

Lighting compliance scheme Recolight welcomed the data, which showed a 43.6% lamp collection rate in 2015, up from 29.3% the previous year.

Nigel harvey recolight

Nigel Harvey Recolight

Chief executive Nigel Harvey (pictured) said: “It is particularly pleasing to see that the 2015 recycling rate bounced back up from 2014.

“This is probably due, in part, to the recycling of fluorescent waste resulting from major LED integrated luminaire roll-outs in business premises across the UK.

“The recycling rate from 2013 to 2014 saw a drop when, for the first time, the data included LED lamps as well as gas discharge lamps.

“With very large quantities of LEDs being sold, but very few being returned as WEEE, the inclusion of LEDs inevitably reduced the rate.”

Uk recycling rates

Uk recycling rates

The tonnage of luminaires collected in 2015 is only 5% higher than in 2014, which Harvey said is due to a 12.7% reduction in the electric devices reported being put on the market.

“This reduction is likely to be a result of dual use classification, which means that any luminaires that could be used by consumers are now out of scope of the WEEE Regulations,” he said.

According to the figures, collections of household WEEE in 2015 may have been higher than first thought.

Provisional figures for the final quarter of 2015 show that 521,609 tonnes of WEEE was collected throughout the year, higher than the 512,610 tonnes recorded in the WEEE settlement centre.

The difference between the two figures may have arisen as schemes that have collected greater tonnages than needed for collection targets will not have posted the material as evidence.

This calls into question whether the current proposed target for 2016 set by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, at 528,000 tonnes, is high enough.

Stakeholders have been given until 4 March to respond to the consultation on the proposed target levels, after which BIS is expected to decide whether the latest data should be taken into consideration.

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