As is tradition, on December 8, many Italians decorated their houses, streets, and shops with Christmas lights and decorations to recreate the typical and familiar atmosphere of the Christmas period.
However, as it happens year after year, many decorations that were used in the past, either stopped working or became outdated. Therefore, people replaced them with new coloured lights or with the latest generation of LED lights.
Nevertheless, to experience the magic atmosphere of Christmas, while respecting the environment, old Christmas lights and decorations must be properly disposed of.
How do we properly dispose of Christmas lights?
The Ecolamp Consortium, in charge of the collection and recycling of waste from lighting equipment, has given us some interesting tips on how to properly dispose of Christmas lights. In fact, some Ecolamp experts developed a quick guide for a correct disposal of Christmas decorations and lighting chains that fall into the category of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).
Ecolamp has given 3 possible solutions for properly disposing of Christmas lights
- All over Italy, there are over 3,900 Local Collection Points where a series of different containers are provided for the collection of the different categories of WEEE. Light chains and Christmas decorations must be disposed inR4 containers, specifically conceived for lighting appliances, small white goods, and consumer electronics. For those who are unable to find the closest Collection Point, Ecolamp has developed an app, called “L’isola che c’è” (Everland), available for iOs and Android devices, as well as a dedicated web page, where users can look for the closest collection point (http://www.ecolamp.it/centri-raccolta/).
- “Disposing of one, buying one”Those who decide to replace their old Christmas lights with new decorations can dispose of their lighting waste by giving it for free to the shop dealer when purchasing an equivalent new product (example: a bulb against a bulb). This is a great solution to dispose of the waste when purchasing a new product.
- “Disposing of one, buying none” In some points of sales, featuring a dedicated Electrical and Electronic Equipment area greater than 400 m², from July 2016, it is possible to dispose for free, with no obligation to purchase, of a WEEE with a maximum length of 25 cm.
During the first six months of 2016, Ecolamp has collected over 960 thousand kilograms of waste from lighting equipment all over Italy. 56% of this waste was the result of private citizens’ collection who went to recycling collection points made available by the Consortium during that period.
According to the basic principles of Circular Economy, if old bulbs are treated correctly, secondary raw materials can be recovered and reinserted into the productive cycle.
In 2015, Ecolamp has recovered over 93% of waste materials: 70% of glass, 10.5% of metals (ferrous and non-ferrous metals) and 5.5% of plastic.
2.8%, i.e. 57 tons of fluorescent powders of the waste treated by Ecolamp in 2015, were not dispersed into the environment.