Summary (English)

In recent years, LightRec has invested heavily seeking to have an intricate collection network at the retail industry. As a result, consumers have handed in a rising number of broken bulbs for recycling purposes. Nevertheless, more than half of these energy-saving light bulbs, fluorescent tubes and luminaires are disposed of along with household, construction and demolition waste. LightRec is determined to have a collecting percentage that is equivalent to the European target for total flow of e-waste material. It means that in 2019, we should be collecting 65% of all the lighting that are brought on the market. In short, there is work to be done.

By now, LightRec has stepped into the next phase. Today’s activities are reaching saturation point. The time has come to consolidate whatever LightRec has accomplished and substantiate matters purposefully. The first steps have already been taken in 2015.

Collecting more bulbs
In 2014, Dutch consumers handed in more light bulbs for recycling purposes. As economy picks up, households are more inclined to replace devices. Wecycle’s efforts on both the consumer and professional market have helped increase the numbers of lights collected up to 1.7 million kilograms.

Also Wecycle has been collecting more luminaires. During demolition and renovation projects, these are easily discarded along with other scrap metal, however clear communication and targeted initiatives make sure these are now separated more often. In 2014, a new peak was reached of nearly 2 million kilograms. That is one and a half as many compared to five years ago.

Healthy financial situation
LightRec’s financial situation is a healthy one. Indeed, the costs for collecting and processing waste have climbed up, particularly owing to additional efforts when collecting fittings and upgrading the collection system through retail businesses. However these additional costs are outweighed by pushing back the operational and marketing expenses.

Responding to a rapidly changing market
LED lamps are becoming increasingly popular, both on the consumer and business market. Although most consumers are still holding on to energy-saving light bulbs, increasingly more companies have decided to embrace LED lamps instead. It means that a serious amount of discarded fluorescent tubes will be released. However with transition progressing, both the collection of fluorescent tubes and the sales of new (LED) lamps is expected to simmer down. LED comes with a significantly longer life span and therefore it may take years before these lights are disposed of.

Continuously shifting sales and collection volumes require a strategic vision as well as LightRec’s operational agility. LightRec is determined to realise its ambitions in the most effective and efficient manner, focussing pragmatically on the highest market potential. At the same time, it understands only too well it is in fact aiming at moving targets. Hence it has every reason to continue to invest in awareness and spotlighting the significance of separated collection at all market levels.

Lots of potential within the demolition industry
Over the past few years, LightRec focussed attention on collection from professional users. However today the consumer market comes with 2,500 recycling bins at different stores. The collection network in the retail industry has reached a saturation point and consumers are well aware of what is expected from them as 84% have disposed of broken lights correctly. Compared to 69% five years ago (source: TNO Nipo).

LightRec has been using the existing marketing tools mainly for companies. The so-called Bakkie campaign that is dedicated to lighting installers, was relaunched in 2014 and will continue to exist in 2015. At the same time, LightRec is giving special attention to the demolition industry. What’s more, LightRec will be addressing those instructing fitters, maintenance firms, constructors and demolition contractors. Should they explicitly confirm that they have been handing in scrapped lighting separately, then the contractor will need to justify matters. This requirement has now been adopted in the Standard Provisions of the Specifications (in Dutch: Standaard Bestekbepalingen or STABU), to make sure it is taken for granted by more parties.

There is work to be done
Despite all efforts, the target laid down in the General Binding Agreement (in Dutch: Algemeen Verbindend Verklaring or AVV) has not yet been met. It was introduced by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment in order to subject all manufacturers and importers of illumination to higher collection percentages. The purpose for the year 2019 that the European Union has set for the total flow of e-waste is 65% of all new products that have been put on the market. In other words, there is still work to be done.