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EucoLight celebrates recycling two billion lamps

Sharpening extended producer responsibility standards is 'vital' to improving lamp recycling rates, says EU representative Simona Bonafè.

‘Our twenty members have jointly recycled two billion lamps to date,’ announces EucoLight secretary general Marc Guiraud. This is an ‘incredible achievement’ for the European compliance scheme, which was launched in 2015, ‘though the journey has not always been easy’.

Lamp recycling has come a long way, Guiraud said during a special webinar organised today to celebrate the new recycling milestone. Reaching this all-time high is mostly due to the hard work of recycling companies across Europe, he told delegates. ‘Together, we collect over 52 000 tonnes of lighting products per year and have established a total of 127 000 lighting collection points.’

For example, AmbiLamp from Spain manages to reycle 250 million lamps per year, while EcoLamp in Italy processes around 170 million lamps and UFH in Hungary is closing in on 3 million lamps.

Guiraud also cites the ‘proactive involvement’ of lamp manufacturers since the very beginning of the WEEE legislation as a particularly helpful development. Indeed, extended producer repsonsibility (EPR) schemes will become more important in the future, if the industry wants to further boost recycling rates.

The same goes for design for sustainability. ‘We’re happy to say that lamps nowadays contain fifty percent less mercury than they did forty years ago,’ delegates heard.

Right now, the most popular lamps are LED units. The global LED Lighting sector was valued at EUR 62 billion in 2020. Market analysts at Mordor Intelligence expect it to reach almost EUR 133 billion by 2026, which represents a compound annual growth rate of 14.25% over the forecast period 2021 – 2026. 

But LED lamps aren’t perfect either. A recent study by EucoLight involving over 3000 products sold online in 10 EU countries showed an ‘exceptionally’ high level of non-compliance with national requirements for financing the treatment of e-scrap. ‘The non-compliance was evident across a wide range of product groups,’ reports Guiraud. ‘However, smaller products, such as LED lightbulbs, were particularly problematic, with non-compliance in the range of 78-100%.’

As a next step, EucoLight members are now looking to expand their collection networks while aiming to build stronger relationships with other industry players. Judging by overall confidence, enthusiasm and ambitious targets, lamp recyclers have a ‘bright future’ ahead of them, according to EU representative Simona Bonafè.

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