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New Lamps for Old Scheme Gains Momentum

A ‘New Lamps for Old’ initiative launched by waste recycler Weeeco and lamp manufacturer Megaman UK is continuing to gain momentum with many more retailers signing up to the scheme. The initiative is a one of raft of WEEE-compliance services offered by Weeeco to its customers. A case in point is IKEA, where a successful pilot at the company’s Gateshead store has led to Weeeco working with several IKEA stores across the UK to facilitate collection and recycling of waste electrical products.

New Lamps for Old Scheme Gains Momentum

IKEA’s Charlie Browne, the UK corporate environment manager explains: "IKEA has a strong commitment to sustainability and for some years all of our stores have had schemes for the recovery of batteries, low energy light bulbs and other WEEE. Following a number of duty of care visits to the sites of other retailers we selected Weeeco as our WEEE-compliance partner. They have proved themselves to be very professional and responsive to our needs – and the online management system is very easy to use."

The ‘New Lamps for Old’ programme was launched when Megaman discovered that as many as 65% of lamps returned to stores such as IKEA and B&Q were still functional. This led to the formation of Weeeco Retail, which collects and tests returned lamps. Under the scheme, functional lamps are given to charities and housing associations for distribution to householders who would not necessarily be able to afford to convert from incandescent to low energy lighting.

The scheme is also applied to light fittings that are returned to stores. Fluorescent lamps and plugs are removed for re-use or recycling and copper cable is also stripped out for recycling. Similarly, functional household appliances returned to the stores are passed on to local social enterprises that then have the opportunity to place these back into the market place as refurbished items.

As well as managing the recovery and re-use or recycling of all types of WEEE at IKEA stores, Weeeco has also been involved in advising on the best ways of managing WEEE on site while it is awaiting collection. Each IKEA store has its own environmental specialist and Weeeco works with these people to facilitate safe storage that minimises the risk of damage to re-usable items, as well as helping with appropriate signage.

"It is only when you look and scrutinise closely what we do with our waste resources do you see the real opportunity for re-use as a principle," noted Weeeco Compliance Director Vincent Eckerman. "It would seem we all missed the fact that perfectly good lamps were going for recovery when a more environmentally sound solution could be put in place," he concluded.

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