Every month LED lighting specialist LEDified replaces around 40,000 halogen lights, fluorescent tubes and high bay lights with low-energy LED lights. It’s important work that contributes significantly to the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target (VEET) and the equivalent Energy Saving Scheme (ESS) in New South Wales. The aim of these schemes is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making it cheaper for householders and businesses to install energy-saving technology.
It’s one thing to install large numbers of new, energy-efficient LED lights, but quite another thing to deal with all the old ones. Aside from the sheer volume of lighting waste created, LEDified needs to provide the government departments that manage VEET and ESS with evidence that the old lights have been destroyed. Only then can they claim the appropriate rebates which cover a significant portion of the costs of replacing old-style lighting.
And there is a third issue. “We are very mindful of the fact that a lot of the lights we replace contain mercury,” says Tom Rutherford, Head of Marketing at LEDified. “Ecocycle makes it really easy for us to do the right thing on that front.”
Collection and recycling
Ecocycle’s contribution begins with its collection service. Dedicated bins for lighting waste are supplied to each of LEDified’s 35 or so contractors, and regularly exchanged for empty bins. When a bin arrives at one of Ecocycle’s depots, the contents are analysed and a decommissioning certificate provide to LEDified. This allows LEDified to create the relevant number of VEET or ESC certificates, and to claim their rebate.
With logistics and destruction taken care of, that could be the end of the story for LEDified. But as Mr Rutherford points out, it doesn’t make sense to be an active player in reducing carbon emissions only to then have a hand in polluting the environment with toxic metals. “We are often quite surprised by the lack of knowledge of lighting issues by building owners,” Mr Rutherford says, “so we end up educating them about potential fires risk, about the excessive carbon emissions associated with lighting, and, of course, the mercury problem.” As he sees it, ensuring mercury is recovered in a safe way is just a natural part of LEDified’s service.
LEDified also supports independent electrical contractors undertaking lighting refits. “It’s easy for us to include them in our processes,” Mr Rutherford says. “We supply the LED lighting, create the energy efficiency certificates and pay the rebate back to the electrician, and Ecocycle supplies the bins for collection for the old lighting, and takes care of its destruction and recycling.”
The upshot is that the relationship between LEDified and Ecocycle provides a double win for the environment – lower carbon emissions and reduced mercury pollution.
“Put simply, Ecocycle is a critical part of our business,” says Mr Rutherford.
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