Case Study: Ideal Lights – Fluorescent Tube/Light Fitting Recycling

At Pure Planet Recycling, we’re dedicated to providing businesses with comprehensive recycling solutions that meet their unique needs. One such company we’ve enjoyed assisting recently is Ideal Lights.

Background of Ideal Lights

Ideal Lights is a reputable company specialising in supplying and fitting energy-efficient lighting solutions. With over 20 years of experience, they are experts within their field. They cater to commercial and residential markets, focusing on environmental responsibility and reduction in energy usage.

The Project

Ideal Lights were tasked to design, supply and install energy-efficient LED lighting for a large Nationwide Tyre Retailer and Fitter. This involved all 720 of their branches Nationwide. After successfully winning the contract, Ideal Lights required a compliant recycling solution for the large volumes of old Fluorescent Tubes, Light Fittings and packaging that would be produced. This is where Pure Planet Recycling helped to provide their expertise in Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling.

The Solution

One of our many service offerings is recycling fluorescent light tubes, so we were well-situated to offer the correct solution. We began by appointing an internal account manager for the project’s duration. This gave Ideal Lights one point of contact and ensured a smooth booking process.

We had committed to attending each site within 5 working days but due to the coverage area involved, we needed to route the collections as environmentally friendly as possible. Due to our customers being based all over mainland England, we could tag onto these routes and successfully meet the required collection time scale.

At the time of collection, our drivers arrived with empty containers to load the fluorescent light tubes for safe onward transport. The lighting fittings and packaging were loaded into the designated packing crates within the vehicle. Each branch received a Hazardous Waste Consignment Note, showing the waste destination, satisfying the regulations. We even swept the floor and the surrounding areas where the waste had been stored.

Once the waste was received at our site, we completed the paperwork and sent copies back to the customer, completing the duty of care process. We could then start recycling and processing the waste types to ensure maximum recovery. This process generated the following material types: Metal, Plastic, Cardboard and Fluorescent Light Tubes.

The Challenge of Recycling Fluorescent Light Tubes

Light tubes/bulbs contain good reusable materials, but they also contain hazardous components. The typical makeup of a fluorescent light tube is 94% Glass, 4% metals, and 2% Phosphor (containing mercury). Therefore, recycling must separate the glass and metals while removing the mercury. This process sounds simple but requires a recycling machine designed for the task.

Once at the recycling facility, the tubes are broken down in an airtight machine. The equipment automatically segregates the metal and glass for reuse. The hazardous phosphor powder is extracted and filtered. Now, with all the materials segregated, they are a commodity and be used back in the manufacturing chain. New light tubes make use of the mercury captured during recycling. Using recycled materials reduces the need for virgin materials.

The Result

Ideal Lights were provided with a solution to ensure the waste was collected in a safe and compliant manner. We completed the project within the required timescales and ensured the end customer met the required regulations. Our solution was as environmentally and cost-effective as possible.

Lindsay Atkins-Fall of Ideal Lights commented….

“Working with Pure Planet Recycling really simplified the waste element of our project. The service we received was excellent and every member of the team was polite and professional.”