2 billion lamps recycled: a European achievement for EucoLight and for the environment

A recent EucoLight online event celebrated recycling success in the lighting sector.
Source: EucoLight

By Marc Guiraud

Marc Guiraud is the Secretary General of EucoLight, the European association of collection and recycling organisations for WEEE lamps and lighting.

03 Mar 2021

On 10 February, the President of EucoLight, Hervé Grimaud, launched a webinar to celebrate the 2 billionth lamp collected and recycled throughout Europe. A milestone that the 19 members of EucoLight, representing 19 countries, collectively achieved.

The two billion lamps that were collected and recycled equate to a line stretching five times round the world. It means also huge quantities of metal, plastic and glass recovered from the treatment. These secondary raw materials are useful for feeding a circular economy and reducing the environmental footprint of lighting products.

The path that led to this result started in early 2000, when the EU decided to implement the WEEE Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). Lamp producers proactively took this obligation by developing a European network of Producer Responsibility Organisations (PROs). The mission was clear from the beginning: to efficiently collect and recycle as many lamps as possible in an environmentally sound way.

From the first to the two billionth lamp collected, many things have changed in terms of operating conditions, rules, legislation, and subjects involved. Today, while EucoLight members celebrate this goal, they are also ready to face the new challenges involved in making the principles of sustainable development and circular economy a reality.

Presenting on the webinar was Maria Banti, a policy officer at the European Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment, who said:

"Today, the waste from electronics is the fastest-growing waste stream around the world and the role of EPR and PRos is vital for sustainable WEEE management. Starting with the financing of waste management, which significantly contributed to improving the WEEE collection rate, we are creating the fundamental links needed throughout the value chain and promoting effective awareness campaigns."

To this end, Eucolight members know that it is essential to create a concrete level playing field that fosters the best results from a circular economy perspective. In this regard, essential issues were covered during the webinar as well as the importance of enforcing legislation at Member State level to ensure fairness and transparency, and the necessity to ensure a proper implementation of the provisions laid down in the Waste Framework Directive. Attention was also drawn to the need to tackle the online free riding issue, bearing clearly in mind that obligations to the planet do not stop when we shop online.

Simona Bonafè, a member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur on the EU Circular Economy Package, placed the symbolic two billionth lamp in the EucoLight dedicated box, commenting:

"The milestone celebrated today by the lighting sector is an amazing example of the circular economy's potential when all stakeholders are involved in cooperating positively."

EucoLight members continue to work towards making the circular economy a reality for lighting products.

Information and materials about the webinar are available here.

Click here for a  2 minute video illustrating what the 2 billion lamps recycled represent (shown at the webinar).

And click here for the full recording.



Brought to you by EucoLight

This article reflects the views of the author and not the views of The Parliament Magazine or of the Dods Group