What Are Councils Doing To Recycle Lighting?

Recently we looked at the level of support given by local councils to battery recycling and found a mixed result.

Some councils provided battery collection services through their offices and depots, others actually recommended tossing them into a normal rubbish bin.

So, how about lighting recycling?

Fluorescent lighting waste is top of our list of things local councils should be recycling, so what advice and services are councils providing to residents and businesses when it comes to fluorescent lamp recycling?

We looked at the same councils, selected from around Australia, to see how their support for lighting waste recycling compared with their support for battery recycling.

This is what we found:

Sunshine Coast Council (QLD) quotes Queensland Health as advising that disposal of fluorescent lamps in regular waste is a suitable option. Residents can, however, take lighting waste to council recovery centres or transfer stations and pay $2 per lamp or tube to have them recycled. The council points businesses with larger volumes of lamps to recycling companies, including Ecocycle.

Camden Council (NSW) doesn’t include fluorescent lighting on its list of accepted e-waste.

Knox City Council (VIC) accepts fluorescent tubes at its Monash Transfer Station.

Fluorescent tubes and bulbs are accepted at the City of Launceston (TAS) waste centre.

The City of Tea Tree Gully (SA) directs households to a deleted page on the Zero Waste SA website (try Recycle Right instead to find drop-off points) and commercial operators to Fluorocycle.

In contrast to the advice from Sunshine Coast council, the City of Mandurah (WA) says that “to prevent hazardous mercury ending up in our environment it is important (fluorescent) globes and tubes do not go into your household recycling or rubbish bins”.

Residents are directed to take them to the Waste Management Centre from where “they will be safely transported off-site to be fully recycled”.

The City of Darwin (NT) doesn’t mention fluorescent lighting, but suggests ‘light bulbs’ be disposed of through the Recycle Shop.

The ACT government accepts up to 10 fluoro tubes and globes at its resource management centres. Businesses are provided with a list of recycling companies, including Ecocycle.

Again, it’s a mixed result. Digging a bit deeper, lamp recycling is probably easiest in South Australia, where the Recycle Right website lists a number of retail hardware stores where tubes and globes can be dropped off.

Are They Really Recycling?

It’s one thing to collect items for recycling, but as recent TV programs War On Waste and the Four Corners episode Trashed revealed, that doesn’t mean they always get recycled.

As Australia’s only fully licensed recycler of mercury, Ecocycle completes the recycling process for lamps collected by a number of reputable companies. This gives us a unique insight into “who is doing what” on mercury recycling in Australia.

Unfortunately, we are aware that some councils are using or promoting companies that claim to recycle lighting, but don’t put any waste through the only Australian facility capable of fully processing this hazardous waste.

Ecocycle is perfectly positioned to help every council around Australia implement a safe, transparent lighting recycling program that provides residents with the assurance that their recycling efforts are both important and effective.

To upgrade to the gold standard in lighting recycling, call us on 1300 32 62 92 or fill in the form below. We’d only be happy to help you recycle lighting safely and responsibly.


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