Lighting Industry

Industry gears up for circular future and the return of lamps

Two hands dismantle a light fitting
Manufacturers, importers, and authorised representatives of containing products must ensure that light sources and separate control gears can be easily replaced using commonly available tools and without permanently damaging the containing product.

THE LIGHTING sector must prepare for a radical future of circular economy principles which will see a dramatic increase in reuse and recycling as well as the return of replaceable light sources, an industry gathering has heard.  

At a major webinar which brought together government, manufacturers and lighting industry leaders organised by Recolight, speakers outlined dramatic changes which will see environmental concerns move rapidly up the agenda.

LightingEurope chief Ourania Georgoutsakou outlined to the audience how new EU laws and policies on sustainability will have a major impact on lighting products.

She discussed the priorities of the new European Commission, the Ecodesign directive and the EU Circular Economy action plan. 

She discussed the impact of the new circular economy requirement for luminaires to include a replaceable light source.

Georgoutsakou also drew delegates attention to the Substance Information Requirements  which will come into force as a legal obligation in the EU at the beginning of 2021.  

And although there is now reasonable pressure from many in the industry to push back on these, and other deadlines, given the Covid-19 crisis, she noted that this might be perceived as a delaying tactic.

Speakers from Defra introduced the UK’s approach of moving from a linear to a circular economy following the UK’s departure from the EU. 

They laid out the Government’s commitment in its 25-year Environment Plan ‘to leave the environment in a better state’ for the next generation, and a zero net emissions target by 2050. The speakers outlined the following plans: 

  • The Industrial Strategy has ambitions to double resource productivity and to eliminate avoidable waste by 2050. 
  • The Resources and Waste strategy sets out how the Government will promote resource efficiency and move towards a more circular economy.
  • The Environment Bill will, once passed into law, give the Government a range of powers to implement circular economy policies, such as wider use of Extended Producer Responsibility.

The speakers discussed Government plans to update the WEEE regulations to encourage reuse, increase collections, tackle online marketplace non-compliance, and encourage eco-design. 

This includes proposals for ‘eco modulation’ of WEEE charges, which would see producers of environmentally better products receiving lower WEEE bills. 

Nigel Harvey, CEO of Recolight, introduced proposed changes to the UK’s Waste Packaging Regulations. 

He noted that the Government policy to require producers to finance the full net costs of packaging recycling could result in charges to producers increasing up to tenfold.  

He also discussed the urgent steps needed to address the huge increase non-compliant sales through online marketplaces.

He called for urgent action to address the issue, noting that the change cannot wait until 2023, the planned date for the update to the WEEE Regulations.

The webinar was introduced and chaired by Ray Molony stating ‘The industry needs a rapid move in thinking: moving from should act – to act now.’

Concluding, Molony gave an overview of industry initiatives for adopting Circular Economy Principles; stating that Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is still a relevant and clear message.

He shared examples of good practice undertaken by a range of different lighting producers. 

  • Watch a recording of the Recolight Webinar: Lighting and the Circular Economy HERE.