Recolight – celebrating a decade of success
Autumn 2015 marked Recolight’s 10 year anniversary. In celebration of this milestone, I wanted to reflect on Recolight’s history alongside the evolution of the lighting industry and WEEE regulations.
For us, it began in 2005, when Recolight was founded by GE Lighting, Havells Sylvania, Osram and Philips Lighting, to take on our participants’ WEEE recycling obligations. We were approved as a WEEE Scheme in 2007, before the WEEE regulations came into force in the UK.
Growing and refining
2010 saw the launch of our consumer CFL collection points at retailers, and the birth of Bertie Bulb, the scheme’s mascot.
The following year, Bertie Bulb, toured the UK promoting and encouraging consumer recycling. The WEEE Directive recast was finalised and published in December, specifically including LEDs.
2012 was a big year for industry awards with Recolight winning a National Recycling Award, and LUX honouring me with their ‘Lux person of the Year’ award. Recolight became associated with the Joint Trade Associations (JTA), lobbying for a new, fairer WEEE system for all Producers. Subsequently, Recolight was invited to join the CENELEC and BSI committees responsible for WEEE treatment standards.
Making headway in both the UK and EU
Continuing to work with the JTA in 2013, Recolight lobbied for the targets and compliance fee option, as well as for LEDs to be reported in the lamps category. In April, the Government consulted on three options for a fairer household WEEE system and subsequently chose the targets and compliance fee option – and moved LEDs into the lamps category. In November that year, we launched our integrated service for waste lamp and luminaire collections.
In 2014, Bertie Bulb was joined by Lucy LED and we launched the Associate Membership category to allow small Producers to join the Recolight scheme. Recolight supported the introduction of ‘dual use’, in order to ensure that all lighting Producers pay their fair share of recycling costs. This was successful, with the Government confirming the implementation of dual use in October.
Increasing recycling rates
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The best testimony to Recolight’s performance is the increase in recycling rates since the WEEE regulations came into force. There has been a year on year increase since 2007, apart from in 2014. The 2014 data included LED lamps as well as Gas Discharge Lamps, and with very large quantities of LEDs being sold – but very few being returned as waste, the inclusion of LEDs inevitably reduced the rate significantly. However, the rate can be expected to start climbing again in 2015.
A bright future
With the increase in recycling rates went the increase in the number of producer members of the Recolight scheme. Starting at 56 at the end of 2009, it has climbed to 162 today. 28 new Producer Members joined in 2015 reflecting the fastest membership growth since 2007, evidence that Recolight is the clear scheme of choice for the lighting industry.
The JTA compliance fee proposal was adopted by the Government and the 2014 lamp recycling target was achieved. A much higher target of 2,650 tonnes was set for 2015, and this will be exceeded.
In the past decade, as well as recycling 36,000 tonnes of lamps, LEDs and luminaires, Recolight and its Members have been influential in shaping Government policy that will impact Producer behaviour for years to come.
We look forward to what the next 10 years have in store.
Nigel Harvey, CEO