Collection of fluorescent tubes and energy-saving lamps
Energy-efficient lamps: fluorescent tubes, energy-saving lamps and LED lighting – as well as the fixtures that contain them – are regarded as 'e-waste' when they are discarded because they contain substances that are (strongly) harmful to the environment. For example, fluorescent tubes and energy-saving lamps contain a small amount of mercury powder, which is very polluting. In recent years, an additional argument has been added: e-waste usually also contains many substances that can easily be recycled and reused. For example, more than 90% of an ordinary energy-saving lamp can be reused after recycling.
Manufacturers and importers responsible
In the EU, manufacturers and importers have been made responsible for collection and processing. In other words: everyone who puts a lamp on the market is automatically obliged to collect and process it again. All manufacturers and importers of lamps and fixtures active in the Netherlands have gathered for this purpose within the LightRec foundation (for lamps) and the OPEN foundation (for fixtures). LightRec and OPEN coordinate the collection, which is carried out by Wecycle. Engels is one of the regular suppliers for the collection materials that Wecycle uses for the collection of all types of e-waste. These collection materials can be found at schools, retailers and other public spaces and are recognizable by their bright green colour.
Collection of fluorescent tubes and energy-saving lamps across europe
In France, waste collector Recylum approached Engels for advice on transport packaging for the collection of fluorescent tubes and energy-saving lamps. Engels proposed two types of containers; one large packaging made out of hard plastic to absorb the outward pressure of the energy-saving lamps and one made out of flexible, foldable plastic Aircell sheet material, which is very efficient for the return volume.
The collection container is an extremely environmentally friendly product: completely made of easy-to-recycle plastic, lightweight, with exact dimensions for transporting neon tubes, so that it saves unnecessary transport volume. Furthermore, the container is equipped with an easy-to-open lid and pallet legs that can be handled by any forklift truck. The container is also collapsible, so that when empty, it saves space during transport or storage. Both energy-saving lamps and neon tubes require their own design; neon tubes can be transported in a container with flexible walls, while the lamps require reinforced walls. Both containers are foldable/foldable.
A similar scenario took place in Portugal with collector AMB3E, the umbrella organization for electronic waste management. In this case we advised pallets with mounting walls for the responsible collection of old lamps. The collection containers are printed with a clear explanation of the use of the container and several hundred of these have been delivered to all affiliated organizations of AMB3E in Portugal.