Circular Lighting Report

Lighting firms to buy back lights

A RAFT OF lighting manufacturers are now offering to purchase luminaires after useA RAFT OF lighting manufacturers are now offering to purchase luminaires after use.

The Austrian architectural luminaire manufacturer Georg Bechter Licht has become the latest to offer a buy back service. It will take back its System Dot 28 range, pictured,  for €5 at the end of use.

The repurchased luminaires will then demounted into their constituent parts and used in the creation of new product ranges.

All the components are mechanically fixed, not glued, meaning that it can be easily disassembled without destroying components.

Lighting designer Marcus Steffen hailed the decision in a social media post: ‘Good to see another manufacturer stepping up and thinking about what happens to their fittings after they are sold,’ he wrote.

Swedish brand Rebel Light has introduced a circular collection of products which it commits to buy back from the customer if they have no longer use for it. Rebel say it will reuse them after having done service on them for its next project.

In 2021, UK supplier of refurbished luminaires Skinflint won a Build Back Better Green award for its Full Circle buy-back scheme, which gives customers the opportunity to trade-in their lights in exchange for a 50 per cent credit towards a future purchase.

Skinflint, pictured below, supplies bars, restaurants, hotels, workplaces and private homes all over the world with pre-used industrial light fittings salvaged from factories and other buildings across Europe .

Under the arrangement, returned lights are repaired, restored and recertified by its experts and placed back into the market.

The idea is to keep the lights out of landfill and in use ‘forever’,’ says company co-founder Chris Miller. ‘The work we do at Skinflint is based on respecting and preserving the heritage of each piece.

‘We have three guiding principles: To salvage the best lighting from the 1920s to the 1970s, to restore every piece sensitively – without compromising its character and to refurbish each fixture to the highest modern standards. We don’t want to see them end up in a skip after five or ten years’.

Skinflint Lighting reuse buy backMiller believes that his company can set a example of the circular economy – in which products and materials are re-used –  in the lighting industry.

‘To us, reclaiming a vintage light means keeping the essence of the original light fitting intact, but that you can rely on it to work perfectly, and safely, every day.

‘I remember as a kid that you used to take your empty bottles back to the local shop and get 5p or 10p for them’, said Simon Fisher, trainer on the Recolight circular lighting workshops. ‘It conjures up nostalgia, but has embedded circular principles.

‘It’s a good initiative and hopefully there will be possibilities to remanufacture returned products and not just dispose of them as electrical waste.’

Some companies, such as Fagerhult, offering a refurbish scheme for clients wishing to upgrade rather than replace their lighting – even if it’s not an original Fagerhult luminaire.

Ray Molony

Recolight Report is an independent guide to the latest developments in sustainable and circular lighting. Learn about the people, products, projects and processes that are shaping our industry’s low carbon future. Plus: explainers on the latest innovations, opinion from thought leaders and video interviews with leading disruptors. Edited by lighting expert, editor and industry figure Ray Molony.