We know where to recycle our batteries, however when it comes to recycling bulbs, we are perplexed. However, an eco-organization, Récyclum, is approved for the handling of used bulbs. Explanation.Interview by Bérangère Larivaud
What is Récylum?
Récylum is the only eco-organization approved for the handling of used lamps. It removes and recycles the lamps collected selectively at the collection points. It also informs consumers about the need to recycle low-consumption lamps and about collection solutions.
Why is it necessary to recycle low consumption lamps?
Because they contain mercury. If the mercury contained in a lamp in minute quantities does not represent any danger in case of breakage, it becomes potentially dangerous for the environment on the scale of tens of millions of lamps reaching the end of their life if they are not treated. Recycling the lamps makes it possible to recover and reuse the mercury, and to prevent its release into the atmosphere or into the soil.
Where to return used lamps?
There are two solutions. Either the user returns his used lamps to a point of sale. Lamp distributors are in fact obliged to resell the used lamps of their customers within the limit of the quantities purchased. Most of the large retailers have a collection cabinet with free access, as for batteries. Either the user deposits his used lamps in a participating recycling center, that is to say 70% of them. The www.malampe.org website allows you to find the nearest Récylum partner point of sale or recycling center. You can also inquire at your town hall or store.
How are these used lamps recycled?
Glass, which constitutes 88% of the weight of the lamps, is mainly reused for the manufacture of fluorescent tubes. But also to make abrasives or insulators. The contact and base metals (5% by weight) are reintegrated into the manufacturing sectors for various new products such as cans. Plastics (4%) are often incinerated, the establishment of a recycling channel not being economically viable. Fluorescent powders (3%) are currently not recyclable under acceptable conditions. They are buried in stabilized final waste storage facilities. Finally the mercury is recycled or neutralized. The recycling of used lamps is financed thanks to the eco-contribution of € 0.25 that any user pays when purchasing a new lamp.