What happens to decommissioned lamps?

Posted by 9th February, 2017 in

Sustainability

We often get asked about what we do with old lamps once they have been replaced by our own energy efficient LEDs. The proper removal and decommissioning of old lights is an important part of our process and one which I will share with you in this blog.

Lamp recycling

We recycle all waste and decommissioned materials from sites where we conduct our installations. This is not only embedded in our operations as part of our strategy and values, but the VEET and ESS schemes require a recycling plan and implementation as part of the schemes. This may seem simple enough, however old lights often contain toxic chemicals which need to be handled by registered and reputable companies that specialise in this service.

Many people aren’t aware that fluorescent lamps such as the very common T5 or T8 tubes contain mercury which can be extremely hazardous when not handled correctly. Mercury has the potential to form toxic methyl mercury which can filtrate soil and water and become poisonous to those in contact. Although the amount found in lights is small, when thousands are thrown out every year, it becomes Australia’s largest source of mercury going into landfill. For this reason, the following process is undertaken when we decommission our old lamps:

  • The lamps are crushed in a bespoke lamp crushing device.
  • The components – mercury (as part of phosphor powder), glass and metal are separated.
  • The phosphor powder goes into a distiller, heated and the mercury is condensed into pure metal.
  • All components are recycled and used back in the industry.

At the end of this process, we are supplied with recycling certificates which are passed on to the VEET and ESS schemes.

Operational materials recycling

Our recycling doesn’t stop at old lamps. We also recycle all operational materials such as old reflectors (as shown in the picture above) through a metal recycler and waste packaging is collected by a suitable recycler.

Contact one of our lighting specialists today to start your way towards a brighter future.