Switch­ing to re­cy­cling

Sri Lanka be­comes first coun­try in South Asia to re­cy­cle compact flu­o­res­cent lamps


Awhen de­vel­op­ing counT A TIME tries are strug­gling with safe dis­posal of compact flu­o­res­cent lamps (cfls), Sri Lanka is lead­ing by ex­am­ple. Pi­ti­pana,a small town 35 km from the cap­i­tal Colombo,is home to South Asia’s first cfl re­cy­cling plant,Asia Re­cy­cling.The plant is owned by Or­ange Elec­tric,which has a lo­cal mar­ket share of 48 per cent in cfls.

“We at Or­ange Elec­tric man­u­fac­ture around 0.6 mil­lion cfl bulbs ev­ery month. Al­most 0.5 mil­lion of th­ese are dis­posed in Sri Lanka ev­ery month.As a man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany, we wanted to be re­spon­si­ble for safe re­cy­cling and treat­ment mech­a­nism for cfl waste,”says B G Gu­nathi­laka,oper­a­tions man­ager, Asia Re­cy­cling. Op­er­a­tional since 2011, the state-of-the-art plant has the ca­pac­ity to re­cy­cle up to 30 mil­lion cfls an­nu­ally—nearly three times more than the an­nual us­age in Sri Lanka. The fa­cil­ity has been set up in part­ner­ship with Nordic Re­cy­cling AB of Swe­den.

The plant col­lects cfl waste from in­sti­tu­tions such as banks, schools and uni­ver­si­ties,fac­to­ries,hos­pi­tals and gov­ern­ment agen­cies.House­holds are en­cour­aged to dis­pose their cfl waste at des­ig­nated col­lec­tion cen­tres. Or­ange Elec­tric has put col­lec­tion boxes at lead­ing su­per­mar­kets and dis­trib­u­tor points across the coun­try. The com­pany also en­tices con­sumers with mon­e­tary in­cen­tive.“We give a dis­count for any brand of cfl bulb that is re­turned to the ven­dor. If a per­son buys a new cfl bulb in ex­change of an old and used bulb, s/he gets

CFLs are bro­ken down in­side a ma­chine equipped with mer­cury re­cov­ery tech­nol­ogy

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