Any lamp recycler knows, investment in new equipment has to be considered carefully.

With LED lamps & bulbs appearing in the recycling waste stream already, they still only account for 3-5% of the lamps recycled. However, in the next two years this percentage is going to start rapidly increasing as the earlier generations of LED lamps & bulbs come to their end of life.

What a lamp recycler needs to now consider is the next step to keep their lamp recycling business viable.

There are three scenarios to consider and as each lamp recycler is different the options are not a one size fits all.  The major consideration is the fact traditional lamp & bulb feedstock for recycling is reducing as LED take over.

  • 1. Send LED to 3rd Party for processing.  This scenario works if the price you charge is high enough to allow you to act as an intermediate.  Charge client X, Pay 3rd party processor Y. As long as X-Y > 0 it returns a potential profit (dependent on overheads). With the earlier LED having a high aluminium content the 3rd party will remain interested as they are also able to get a return of this. Risk to this scenario is when Al content drops and 3rd party increases price or declines to process, leaving X-Y as a negative figure or product they are unable to process.
  • 2. Accept traditional feedstock will reduce and accept business will decrease.  Try to incorporate scenario 1 as long as possible in the hope X-Y remains a positive value.  This scenario potentially applies to smaller processors who are unable or cannot justify investment, or who may be happy to retire from this type of business.
  • 3. Invest in LED recycling technology.  Benefit from the following:
  • Process LED in house avoiding the Y cost above.
  • Recover more costs from higher value ferrous and non-ferrous fractions
  • Charge others to recycle LED
  • Process shattershield lamps (plastic coated)
  • Post process lamp bases and end caps from traditional feedstock for higher value fractions (HVF).
  • Become first to market & shorten payback time benefitting from earlier LED generations having higher aluminium content. 
  • Be ahead of the competition.