Light cast on energy savings
The EU Management of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive will require producers to take back end of life products and either recycle or reuse them or their constituent materials. The scope of this directive includes the majority of electrical and electronic equipment used in households and commercial and industrial premises, including lamps (bulbs and tubes), luminaires (light fittings) and lighting controls (or ballasts - the devices that control current through discharge tubes, or fluorescent lights).
It is probable that the requirements of the Directive will come into force
sometime during 2004, from which time all products will have to be collected
and passed through a treatment process to recover useful or hazardous materials.
The Directive will lay down specific requirements for the processing of end
of life gas discharge lamps, in particular, the removal of mercury.
Sustainalite is a company established by UK lamp manufacturers and waste management
companies – the latter being those most likely to undertake the collection,
storage, transfer and recycling.
The WEEE Directive assumes that the producer will be responsible for providing
a ‘free of charge’ route for the end user to dispose of his product, but there
is provision for professional users to be made responsible for disposal by agreement
at the time of sale. “Replace a standard 1.5in fluorescent tube with a
slimmer 1in one,” says Skelton, “and you immediately achieve a ten
per cent energy saving because the tubes will run more efficiently, even on
the existing system. Triphosphor technology also lasts much longer, so you don’t
have to discard them as frequently.”
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