The series of Recolight Circular Economy webinars has been attended by over 1,000 individuals over the last two years, with attendees from right across the industry. Participants have shown a great deal of enthusiasm and many practical issues and suggestions have been raised.
Commenting on the outcome of the webinars, Nigel Harvey, CEO of Recolight said: “It has been really encouraging to see the discussions move beyond ‘what needs to be done’ and towards ‘what is actually happening’. There is clearly still a lot to do – but it is starting to happen. That gives me hope that we will increasingly play our part in tackling to climate crisis.” Simon Fisher of F Mark added: “its clear that there are many challenges to overcome to achieve a truly circular lighting industry. However, there has never been a better time to embrace circularity in terms of client awareness of the environment and the need to make significant changes.”
Ray Molony of Build Back Better Awards reminded us that: “The transition to lighting for the circular economy is shaping up to be as profound and disruptive as the transition to LEDs in the 2000s. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the challenges – and opportunities – it will generate.”
Practical steps to move towards a Circular Economy
With over 40 experts from across the lighting industry joining the webinar panels, many recuring themes were discussed:
- Resource depletion will begin to drive up the cost of raw materials, leading to more use of recycled materials.
- Recycling is not always the best solution!
“The natural conclusion to creating a circular economy for fixtures is to ensure that there is a route for those fixtures to enjoy further lives after the original installation.”
John Bullock, Editor of The Light Review.
- Several companies, including Recolight, have introduced new services to facilitate the reuse and repair of fittings. Remanufacturers have indicated they will provide warranties and certification of reused product.
- Maintenance and manufacturing companies have an emerging opportunity to offer to remanufacture or reconditioning services.
- Specifiers have a crucial role to play in educating end users about the importance of using products which embody Circular Economy principles.
“The shift towards a circular economy in lighting is a challenge but also a great opportunity. For specifiers, this is our time to take clients and collaborators on the journey with us, to awaken an appetite for re-use and re-purposing of luminaires. For all of us, there is an opportunity to re-assess our relationship with lighting, that could lead to a greater appreciation of it, and a greater understanding of the real cost of making a new luminaire.” Ruth Kelly Waskett, Senior Associate at Hoare Lea and President of the Society of Light & Lighting.
- BS8887 (the new draft luminaire remanufacturing standard) and TM66 (method to assess compliance of luminaires with circular economy principles) will both help end users and specifiers make the right product choices.
- The industry will benefit from guidelines that identify best practice. The LIA have since created a task force and published a technical statement: The Circular Economy interim guide.
- Reforms to the WEEE Regulations will incentivise re-use, and circular business models. Defra is considering setting separate targets for re-use.
Summarising the outcome of the 2021 webinar series, John Gorse, Technical Solutions Manager at Signify said: “Global commitments on sustainability and carbon for the future are essential but we have to wait for them to be realised. This series of Webinars has shown what lighting can actually do right now without restrictive costs or new mandatory legislation. Smart LED technology is low capex, easy to install, and when applied correctly is sustainable, circular and immediately cuts emissions that have a real impact on slowing and stopping temperature rise and climate change.”