The Association of Electrical Wholesalers (AEW) and WEEE Ireland are redoubling their efforts in 2021 to drive a big increase in the recycling of waste lighting through the AEW’s 130 Electrical Wholesale outlets in Ireland.
WEEE Ireland CEO Leo Donovan comments: “WEEE Ireland has been working on behalf of the lighting sector to organize the collection and recycling of waste lighting for the past 16 years. The success of the scheme is due to the participation of all the stakeholders across the lighting industry, from Manufacturers/Distributors to Electrical Wholesalers to Electrical Contractors. We should be very proud of the infrastructure we have developed together to facilitate the return and recycling of waste lighting across all 26 counties. In particular, our main recycling partner, Irish Lamps Recycling (ILR), has worked very effectively not only with Electrical Wholesalers to collect waste lighting from their premises but also with Electrical Contractors to collect waste lighting directly from construction sites”.
“The lighting industry has undergone significant changes since WEEE Ireland started its scheme back in 2005. Today, LED integrated luminaires are the first choice for most new installations and refurbishments, supporting many of the objectives of new Climate Change, Circular Economy and Sustainable Product legislation due to their long-lasting durability and their energy efficiency. As a result, lighting products such as fluorescent tubes and CFLs and their associated luminaires are being replaced every day of the week and, as they are all hazardous to the environment, they need to be recycled responsibly by everyone”.
AEW Administrator Ken Legros reports: “As an organization, the AEW has really started to pull together over the last 12 months and our membership has now expanded to a total of 130 branches with the recent addition of CEF’s 13 branches plus a number of new independent members too. WEEE Recycling is not only a vital service that AEW members can offer to their customers to help them to get rid of their used lamps and luminaires in an environmentally-friendly way, but it also has commercial benefits too because it brings repeat customers back to their Trade Counters”.
Two of the best examples of Electrical Wholesalers who have embraced WEEE Recycling as a key part of their overall service to customers are M. Kelliher Electrical in Ballymount and Clifford Electrical in Sligo.
“We treat WEEE Recycling as part of our everyday business”, says Barry Dunne, Branch Manager at M.Kelliher Ballymount, “We have allocated a spacious and well-advertised outdoor area to the side of our warehouse for the storage of WEEE. This area is always well stocked with recycling cages for luminaires and recycling coffins for lamps. Our customers can park right beside it and deposit their WEEE simply and easily. Irish Lamps Recycling (ILR) collect our WEEE once a week and bring it to their plant in Athy, Co. Kildare for recycling, which enables us to keep our WEEE area nice and tidy. Not only are we doing our bit for the environment, but we definitely get more business as a result of providing this service to our customers”.
“We provide a dedicated recycling drop off facility in our yard”, says John Clifford of Clifford Electrical in Sligo, “The area is very accessible and easy to use and we encourage our customers to drop off their used lamps and luminaires whenever they like. We also provide boxes at our Trade Counter for recycling lamps and batteries and we can provide boxes to our customers to use at their own premises if they prefer. When our customers are involved in a retrofitting project, we offer to collect the WEEE from site and bring it back to our recycling depot for them. Alternatively, on larger projects, we can provide empty pallets to site and arrange for ILR to go direct to site to collect the WEEE on our behalf. ILR collect WEEE from our premises on a regular basis and we find them very cooperative whenever we ask them to collect from site”.
“It’s great to see that some of our members have fully embraced WEEE Recycling as a key part of their business”, says Ken, “and the AEW would encourage all of our members to really focus on WEEE Recycling this year, particularly with their Electrical Contractor customers and with special emphasis on linear fluorescent tubes and CFLs”.
“I would ask all AEW members to consider upgrading their WEEE Recycling facilities as soon as possible this year”, says Ken. “It’s difficult to achieve great WEEE Recycling results unless you have the proper facilities and equipment in place, so I would encourage AEW members to liaise with Irish Lamps Recycling (ILR) to procure the ideal mix of cages, coffins and boxes for their respective WEEE Recycling areas. AEW members should also be displaying WEEE Recycling posters at their Trade Counters and encouraging their customers by word of mouth to use their WEEE Recycling facilities as much as possible. If an AEW member needs more posters, they are welcome to call me on 085-2072761 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will dispatch some posters to them straight away. Finally, it’s worth reminding AEW members that WEEE Ireland will pay them €300 for each tonne of WEEE lamps collected by ILR and €30 for each tonne of WEEE luminaires, so there is a nice financial reward available there too”.
The AEW is planning a WEEE Recycling Awards event in early 2022 in conjunction with WEEE Ireland and ILR, with the winners to be selected based on their WEEE Recycling results for the calendar year 2021. Further details about these awards will be communicated directly to all AEW members shortly.
“I think that everyone involved in the lighting industry will agree that WEEE Recycling is not only an environmental obligation for all, but also of commercial benefit to those who embrace it”, says Ken, “and the AEW is delighted to play its part in helping WEEE Ireland to achieve its goals in 2021 and beyond”