Green Scheme Stops Lighting Going To Landfill
04 September 2007
And thanks to the replacement programme, Gateshead Council has become the first local authority in the UK to recycle its redundant lighting equipment since the introduction this summer of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive). The WEEE Directive was introduced in July to increase the re-use and recycling of electrical and electronic goods and reduce the amount of copper, glass, plastic and metal which goes to landfill.
The directive makes producers responsible for funding the collection, treatment, and recovery of waste electrical equipment, and obliges distributors to allow consumers to return their waste equipment free of charge.
Gateshead Council began its lighting replacement programme this summer with the aim of swapping more than 4,000 office lighting units with more modern, and more energy –efficient, units as part the Council’s energy saving strategy.
The existing lighting, which dates from when the Civic Centre was built in the 1980’s, uses groups of four 40W fluorescent U-tubes, but these are relatively inefficient by modern standards and are becoming difficult and expensive to source. They are now being replaced with custom-designed units using four 14W T5 “daylight” tubes which provide better illumination which mimics natural daylight.
Around 250 lighting units have so far been replaced, but instead of the old ones being sent to landfill, they have been put straight into a special skip provided free-of-charge by Lumicom, who operate a lighting fittings recycling scheme on behalf of the lighting trade.
Peter Udall, Head of Design for Gateshead Council, says “The original lighting units were supplied by Thorn more than 20 years ago, but both their light output and their energy consumption now fall far below that of modern units, and they are becoming expensive to maintain. “Gateshead Council’s own waste strategy puts great importance on recycling - it is something we are totally committed to. So we are delighted to be able to set a lead in recycling our old electrical equipment in this way.”
“Collection and recycling of the redundant light fittings was a simple matter of registering on the Lumicom website and, within a few days, a free collection skip was delivered to Gateshead Civic Centre. This is now being filled with the redundant lighting units which are destined for separation into the correct recycling channels by Lumicom’s appointed recycler.”
The new lighting units, custom built Cinqueline luminaires, have again been supplied by Thorn, who worked closely with Gateshead Council to design a purpose-made unit which is a perfect fit with the Civic Centre’s ceiling panels, allowing replacements to be fitted quickly and with minimum disruption to employees. New “Daylight” lamps are being employed in the new units to give an office colour rendering which is very near to natural light. More importantly, the new lighting units use only a third of the power of their predecessors.
Lumicom is a not for profit subsidiary of the Lighting Industry Federation. It manages a compliance scheme for producers of “business to business” lighting fittings. It estimates that if all 16 million lighting fittings that historically were scrapped each year, were recycled, that would be 50,000 tonnes of valuable raw material saved. Manufacturers like Thorn, who support the scheme are listed on http://www.lumicom.co.uk/.