What is the WEEE directive ?
In 2007 the UK government introduced the WEEE directive which is : Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment.
This new directive was put into place to advise and issue requirements for the recovery, reuse and recycling of electronic equipment which in our business mainly involves the end of life recycling and disposal of Fluorescent , HID, LED and any other lamps that have mercury as a component.
On January 1st 2014 the WEEE directive became law in the United Kingdom and the next amendment is due in 2019 to include a wider range of products.
How Does it Affect Me ?
The combined average household electrical discarded waste in the UK is an estimated 2 Million Tonnes of items included in the WEEE directive mostly including any day to day electricals and if it has a plug or battery then it is most likely an item that should be disposed of under WEEE rather than sending to landfill.
Since 2006 most waste recycling centres now have individual areas for the disposal of certain electricals and lighting products and some of these include the following.
- Large White Goods such as Washing Machines Dishwashers and Tumble Driers.
- Small Household appliances such as hoovers, microwaves and blenders.
- IT and Computer products such as hard drives and laptops.
- Lighting fixtures and any lamp that has mercury as a component.
- Power Tools and Garden Items such as lawn mowers and hedge trimmers
- Toys with battery or mains power leads
How this Affects Lighting Manufacturers and Sellers
According to the WEEE directive
“Producers of electrical and electronic equipment ( EEE ) are responsible for financing and ensuring the safe disposal of end of life products in an environmentally sound way arising from both household and non household users”
This applies to
- Manufacturers or own brand sellers
- Re-sellers like ourselves ( Electrical Wholesalers )
How R&M Can Help
When you purchase a fluorescent lamp, HID ( High Intensity Discharge ) or LED lamp you will have paid a WEEE charge and this can be shown as a separate line on your invoice or incorporated into the selling price. This is a non profit charge similar to VAT and is normally up to 20p depending on the lamp type.
This means at the end of the lamps life and it needs disposed of you can take your lamp to any WEEE point such as a council waste recycling point or most electrical wholesalers like ourselves regardless of where you purchased the lamp.
R&M Electrical Wholesalers use Recolight for our WEEE lamp disposal
We have a 6ft container outside our trade counter for waste lamps, we only ask you let us know if you are disposing any lamps.Please note that broken lamps cannot be placed into the container.
What happens next for your old lamp ?
After your lamps have been collected there are three main processes that happen.
- The recovery of phosphors from inside the glass tubes in particular triphosphors which can be used in the manufacture of new lamps.
- The mercury from inside fluorescent or HID lamps can be collected and reused in various industrial processes.
- The glass from the lamp is crushed and mixed along with new glass and glass melt to create new glass that can be used for new lamps and also any glass product.
Thanks for reading and I hope this article helps understand the WEEE process a little more. For further information please check out the recolight website.
Visit our website www.rmelect.co.uk for more information and lighting supplies.
Article by Alex McDougall
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