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One-fifth of LED lamps sold in UK 'non-compliant'

Recolight has claimed that around 20% of all LED lamps sold in the UK are not WEEE-compliant because of the growing practice of transactions through multi-seller online retailers.

The waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) compliance scheme is calling on ministers to address what is seen as a legal loophole. It has also contributed to a forthcoming report on global WEEE non-compliance by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Recolight has undertaken research into LED sales on a major multi-seller website. It is not being named by Recolight but MRW understands this refers to Amazon.

The site returned 480,000 hits for the search term ‘LED bulb’. Recolight found that 75% of sellers were not registered for WEEE and it estimates that 20% of all the lamps were non-compliant.

The scheme’s chief executive Nigel Harvey called this “a huge, huge number”. He said much of the WEEE came from companies based in China or Hong Kong.

“We were both surprised and alarmed by our findings. If our estimates are correct, it would appear that WEEE free-riding through some online multi-seller platforms has reached epidemic proportions.

“What is more, WEEE could just be the tip of the iceberg. While it is easy to check WEEE compliance, it is harder to verify electrical safety, CE, VAT and import duty compliance. If a company has not complied with WEEE, how certain is it that it complies with other UK requirements?”

The OECD report, due in September, is expected to estimate that free-riding through online sellers is around 5-10% of all electrical products sold, but smaller products that are easy to ship, such as LED lamps, had a higher rate of non-compliance

EucoLight, the European trade association for lighting WEEE compliance schemes, is co-hosting a seminar on the issue in Brussels on 13 September.

Amazon UK has been contacted for a comment.

Readers' comments (1)

  • At Bywaters we have invested substantially in "legal" LEDs and reduced electricity cost by £1,000.00 per month. Personally and for domestic purposes I have found the LED offerings from Amazon truly fantastic and the latest household LED's are now extremely reliable and it is likely to be a very long time before these arrive in WEEE. If you change all your domestic bulbs for LED's you will probably reduce ongoing bulb changing by 90% as well as your electricity bills by 85%. The latest LED's can actually look and work like a traditional bulb and the Chinese even made Bluetooth bulbs complete with multicolours and a loudspeaker inbuilt! You don't see the wide range of economical Amazon style LED bulbs in the shops here. Both low energy fluorescents and LED's used to have dodgy on board electronics, but this has now been overcome. We don't yet measure up in this country!

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