The future of lighting waste is looking brighter as light bulbs become greener and smarter, however we still have a long way to go.
In Australia, millions of light bulbs are discarded into the rubbish bin and eventually end up in landfill every year.
In fact, authorities estimate 95 per cent of mercury-containing lamps are still sent to the garbage tip despite free recycling programs that operate across the country.
Fortunately, there are positive steps being taken as people switch to more efficient lighting options like LEDs, while some governments implement new rules to enforce lighting recycling.
Lighting becomes greener and smarter
LEDs are gaining popularity in households and workplaces because they last longer and use less energy than traditional bulbs.
The global LED lighting market is expected to grow 12.6% a year between 2017 and 2023, according to experts at P&S Market Research.
LEDs use about 75 per cent less energy than halogen lights, and last five to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs, so fewer replacements are needed over time.
Additionally, LEDs don’t contain mercury like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and fluorescent tubes.
Smart lights, which are LEDs operated remotely via a mobile phone or voice assistant, can become even more efficient if they’re optimised with timers and sensors.
Lighting recycling banned from landfill
The Victorian government is leading the way on lighting recycling after introducing a state-wide ban on dumping electronic waste into landfill in 2019.
The ban forces households and businesses to dispose of e-waste, which includes lighting waste, at dedicated collection spots instead of throwing it in the general waste bin.
The move comes as local communities grapple with rising levels of e-waste, which is growing three times faster than regular waste in Australia, according to Sustainability Victoria.
South Australia already prohibits the disposal of fluorescent lighting in landfill, while other states and territories are looking at ways to address this escalating problem.
Lighting recycling is getting easier
If you’ve got old light bulbs lying around the house and you’re not sure how to recycle them, you’re in luck.
All you have to do is drop your used light bulbs off at your closest collection point, which you can find at Recycling Near You.
Recycling light bulbs keeps toxic metals like mercury out of landfill, where it can contaminate the environment and waterways.
It also recovers a variety of materials such as glass, ceramic, aluminium and phosphor that can be reused in products like aluminium cans and fertiliser.
For larger businesses or organisations, Ecocycle provides comprehensive lighting recycling solutions customised to your individual requirements.
As Australia’s largest lighting recycler, Ecocycle offers a full lighting recycling service from the supply of boxes through to pick-up and the provision of recycling certificates.
If you want to learn more about our lighting recycling services, give us a call us on 1300 32 62 92 or fill out the form below.