Bulb and WEEE LogoI thought it was about time to do something about the energy consumption from lighting in the flat I live in with Helena, so hence I have invested in 20 7W compact energy-efficient bulbs, bought online from LightingWorld. These are really wee bulbs – they are small enough to fit in GU10 Halogen bulb fittings.

Yet the bulbs are also WEEE in the sense that the means of dealing with them when they are broken has to comply with the EC Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (more here). According to this directive any equipment that cannot be disposed of in the normal domestic waste has to carry the wheelie bin with the logo crossed out (shown) on its packaging, and hence must be disposed of carefully – either by returning the product to where it was purchased, or thanks to a special municipal service. This applies to any non-filament light bulb – i.e. any LED or fluorescent tube.

So what can I do in Southwark? I could post the defunct bulbs off to LightingWorld, based in Kent, through the mail. Forget it. Far too costly, and time consuming. If I’m no going to do that, as someone who cares a lot about these things, then forget the idea that other people are going to do it. So it’s down to what I could do with these bulbs in Southwark which – surprise, surprise – is quite complex. They can’t go in the blue box I’ve finally received, and there is no service to collect them. The only option is the Manor Place depot.

Oh, and then there’s the issue that probably no-one is aware of the fact that light bulbs are supposed to be collected in a special way, and how many people know what the crossed-out bin logo actually means? Now that’s a big problem for the current UK government that is trying to look like its green.


  1. I think since this post was originally created the recycling of bulbs has come on leaps and bounds. Consumers should now be aware they shouldnt place them in general waste bins and local authority run recycling centres have the provisions to recycle bulbs in the correct manner.

  2. It’s the unfortunate truth, we all want to recycle and be greener but sometimes it’s counter productive if costs are so high. In recent time retailers are now supplying recycling facilities in your local supermarkets offering a free solution to the publics recycling requirements.

  3. Payam Bagheri

    All right you have 2 years then.

    I guess it is a ood time to concentrate on this type of industry since all other industries are in recession!

    Just for your information we are running out of landfills and scrap yards in Hong Kong.

  4. Heck, I can understand where you’re coming from as a consumer, but this arena is growing and, given that the price of recycling is already costed into recycling bulbs and tubes, recyclers can claim the cost back from what are known as producer compliance schemes. It’s going to take time for the schemes to expand far enough to meet the quantities that households are throwing out, but at the end of the day its unfortunately all about numbers (tonnes) saved and not individual items recycled. Give us a couple of years, and recyclers will be dealing with even more household waste. Unfortunately, the industry is still in it’s infancy and has some way to go yet.



  5. I fully agree with Jon. These logos mean nothing unless some one actually does something about their collection and recycling. If there are no facilities, people will have to bin them. they can do nothing else. So it is essential that the people in charge of writing up these regulations actually make the facilities available to people, otherwise it will only be a money making tool for some people and will not benefit the environment whatsoever.

  6. Ted Wilson

    The crossed out wheelie bin is a very satisfactory symbol that tells in a picture, “DO NOT PLACE IN TRASH BIN”.

  7. The logo is OK. The problem is what you should do with something if you can’t put in to the normal waste bin!

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