Lumicom scheme makes light work of recycling luminaires

With the help of the Lumicom recycling scheme, Gateshead Council is recycling 4000 lighting fittings that are being replaced in its Civic Centre.
Gateshead has become the first local authority in the UK to recycle its redundant lighting equipment since the introduction of the WEEE Directive (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) in July. The council began its lighting replacement programme this summer with the aim of replacing over 4000 luminaires in offices with more energy-efficient units as part of its energy-saving strategy. The existing lighting dates from the building of the Civic Centre in the 1980s and uses groups of four 40 W fluorescent U tubes. These are relatively inefficient by modern standards and are becoming difficult and expensive to source. They are being replaced with custom-designed unit using four 14 W T5 daylight tubes. Instead of being sent to landfill, the old units are being put into a special skip provided free by Lumicom, which operates a scheme for recycling lighting fittings on behalf of the lighting trade. Peter Udall, head of design with Gateshead Council, explains, ‘Collection and recycling of the redundant light fittings was a simple matter of registering on the Lumicom web site and, within a few days, a free collection skip was delivered to Gateshead Civic Centre. This is filled with the redundant units, which are destined for separation into the correct recycling channels by Lumicom’s appointed recycler. Lumicom has implemented a simple-to-use, one-stop shop that allows us to dispose of these unwanted electrical units responsibly and helps us to divert several tonnes of electrical waste from landfill.’ The new lighting units are being supplied by Thorn, which also supplied the previous equipment. The company worked closely with the council to design a purpose-made unit which is a perfect fit with the Civic Centre’s ceiling panels, enabling replacements to be fitted quickly and with minimum disruption to employees. Lumicom is a not-for-profit subsidiary of the Lighting Industry Federation. It is estimated that recycling the 16 million lighting fittings that are scrapped each year will recover 50 000 t of raw material.
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