SMEs risking employee health and safety by incorrectly recycling light bulbs and fittings
Under the Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005 and the latest WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) rules, all businesses are required to categorise and responsibly dispose of hazardous waste.
UK lamp recycle rates have reached an all-time high of 52.8 per cent, thanks mostly to householders and larger corporations. SMEs (which make up 99.9 per cent of all UK private sector organisations) play a vital part to increase this figure by responsibly recycling their fluorescent and LED lighting waste.
There are currently 2,433 commercial collection points in the UK for businesses to recycle their waste lamps, thanks to Recolight, the leading lighting industry WEEE compliance scheme, but many businesses are still unaware that these collection points exist.
Nigel Harvey, CEO, Recolight, explains: "We find that larger businesses generally have plans in place to responsibly and safely recycle their lighting. It's the sizeable SME market, and organisations with smaller quantities of waste lamps, that sometimes resort to refuse bins. Handling and disposing of waste lamps inappropriately can expose employees to hazardous waste like mercury, as well as being illegal. With developments such as our postcode-searching function, a collection point is never more than 20 miles away for lamps to be carefully recycled."
Rune Marki, CEO at Osram, continues: "The recycling message has really been hitting home in the last decade as businesses start to comply with the latest environmental regulations. It's never been easier for businesses to manage fluorescent lamp and luminaire waste alongside other business waste."
For fluorescent lamps that are visibly broken, Osram has provided the following guidelines to help with safe disposal:
- Make sure to disconnect the lamp or luminaire from any electric power
- Open the windows and leave the room for 10 to 15 minutes
- Thoroughly sweep the surface to collect all lamp parts
- After ventilation, gather the remaining small pieces with a disposable cloth or adhesive tape.
- When using a vacuum cleaner (e. g. for carpets) make sure to immediately remove the bag
- Collect the lamp pieces in a sealed bag or container and bring it to the next collection point for waste lamps. If you have to store it in the meantime, please do so outdoors.
Post Date: September 1st, 2014