Volunteer low energy light-bulb recycling scheme launches

Reading is to become the first place in the country to start a new community recycling initiative which will see volunteers collecting low-energy light bulbs.

The initiative has been created through a partnership between Recolight, the specialist WEEE compliance scheme for the lighting industry, and CoBRA (Community Bulb Recycling Alliance).

The idea came about following the Government’s phase out of traditional incandescent light bulbs meaning that low-energy light bulbs will be sold in increasingly large quantities and will begin to enter the waste chain.

The bulbs have to be recycled properly because they contain a tiny amount of mercury, usually no more than 4mg and isn’t harmful health but can damage the environment in large quantities.

Reading Borough Council is now urging potential volunteers who would be willing to give up some of their time and perform the role of ‘recycling champions’ to come forward.

Reading councillor for environment and sustainability, Warren Swaine, said: “A lot of attention has been given to recycling schemes that are aimed at stopping climate change or reducing landfill but there are some items should be recycled simply because it is the right thing to do.

“We want to recycle as many different materials as possible and explore innovative ways of achieving that and this is a good example of that approach. I’d ask anyone who thinks it’s important to keep hazardous materials out of our household waste to sign up to this trail blazing idea.”

Commenting on the scheme, Recolight CEO Nigel Harvey said: “This is a really important community initiative to keep a hazardous waste stream out of landfill. Recycling low-energy light bulbs is often overlooked but it’s just as important as properly recycling a fridge or TV.

“Our specially designed collection containers will be visible in convenient community locations for the public to easily use.”

The Recolight container, called the Bulbstore Mini, was specially designed by students at the Open University and has been independently tested.

It features a unique internal ramp system which stops the bulbs knocking into each other and breaking.

Luke Walsh

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