RECOLIGHT HAS set a target to become net zero carbon by 2030.
The organisation – the lighting industry’s leading scheme for compliance with Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulations – said the ambition would lead to a ‘root and branch’ change of the way it functions.
The target, agreed by the Recolight board in January, will cover all its operations.
Commenting on the news, Recolight CEO Nigel Harvey told Lux: ‘As a recycling compliance scheme, Recolight is already committed to limiting the environmental impact of the services we provide.
‘But now we want to go much further. Although recycling activities are undoubtedly beneficial for the environment, they still come with a carbon cost. We want to change that.’
A recycling service can produce significant carbon benefits. For example when aluminium is recycled, that avoids the need to extract the metal from bauxite, a process that is very energy intensive.
However, a collection and recycling service also incurs material carbon costs, particularly when waste is transported from collection point to recycler.
Harvey added: ‘Dealing with the transport carbon will be particularly challenging.
‘In our next tender for transport services and treatment services, due at the end of this year, 25 per cent of the evaluation points will be awarded for robust plans and actions towards achieving net zero.’
To provide an incentive and roadmap to help the industry work towards net zero carbon Recolight plans to make up to £50,000 available, on a competitive basis.
This is intended to help companies establish zero carbon or low carbon collection, or recycling, of waste lamps.
‘This is not going to be easy,’ continued Harvey. ‘But we are determined to make it happen. What is more, wherever possible, we will avoid carbon offsets and similar creative carbon accounting.
‘We need a root and branch change of the way we operate. That will probably only be possible if others in the WEEE and recycling industries also play their parts.’
In September, Signify became the world’s first major lighting manufacturer to become carbon neutral.
The Dutch giant, formerly Philips Lighting, has achieved carbon neutrality for all its operations across the world as well as using 100 per cent renewable electricity.
It reduced its operational emissions by more than 70 per cent since 2010, having shifted to more energy-efficient technologies at its sites, to more sustainable modes of transport and logistics planning, and to less travel.
It also uses 100 per cent renewable electricity, supported through two power purchase agreements, one in Texas and a second in Poland.
The balance of emission reductions is achieved through a carbon offsetting programme with projects aimed at benefiting the wellbeing of local communities.