Lighting : February 2014 Lighting (v2-HR)
18 LIGHTING MAGAZINE | February/March 2014 February/March 2014 | LIGHTING MAGAZINE 19 “With a 40 per cent increase in the number of FluoroCycle signatories at the end of 2013 compared to December 2012 – a jump from 152 to 212 – we expect that figures for 2013 will show a significant rise in the recycling rate attributable to the FluoroCycle scheme,” Douglas says. During the initial three-year period of the FluoroCycle initiative, the government enacted the Product Stewardship Act, a piece of legislation that seeks to mitigate the environmental and other impacts of a range of hazardous waste products such as mercury. The Lighting Council recently submitted its application for accreditation of the FluoroCycle initiative under the Act. Despite the arduous nature of the accreditation process, which has involved extensive time and resources being poured into satisfying the accreditation requirements, not to mention a hefty $20,000 fee, Douglas says that it is important for the Council to be seen to be formalising its commitment to FluoroCycle and to taking a leading role in hazardous waste management in the context of the broader lighting sector. Assuming the application is approved, the Council will be one of the first organisations to receive accreditation under this legislation. “Achieving accreditation indicates the willingness of Lighting Council to do the right thing,” Douglas says. The success of FluoroCycle to date reflects not only the Lighting Council’s effective governance of the program, but also the positive response of the broader lighting sector. Douglas is effusive in his praise, particularly given the voluntary nature of the scheme and the cost that lighting companies continue to bear in order to participate; member companies of Lighting Council supplying mercury- containing lamps contribute a substantial annual levy for the scheme’s administration, which is calculated based on their size and annual turnover. However, even the cost of the levy hasn’t deterred companies from going ahead to do what they see as being the right thing. “I believe the lighting industry has been extremely responsible in their approach to keeping mercury out of landfill,” he says. “To continue this program after the expiration of the contract required our members supplying mercury-containing lamps to pay a levy, and it is a fairly substantial levy. Our members resolved to do that, and I can only repeat that the government has expressed a high level of satisfaction in what we’ve been doing.” UPDATE ON THE EESS Another significant piece of legislation to impact the lighting industry over the last 12 months was the development of the Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS), which aims to provide improved safety outcomes for a range of electrical and lighting products across Australia. Douglas spoke to Lighting Art and Science in early 2013 about the scheme, currently being rolled out across Australia, which will seek to better regulate the huge numbers of electrical products flooding the Australian market from overseas. The early phases of the rollout have been positively received, with Queensland the first cab off the rank at the end of 2013. Other states and territories are set to follow suit over the next few months. “It’s a process which requires registration of products on a publicly searchable database, and that registration process is now happening, which is good. It’s something we’ve been advocating, and so it’s starting to kick in, definitely,” Douglas says. “We’re in a transition phase at the moment, but eventually we do expect, in the course of 2014, that the program will operate nationally.” Despite New South Wales declining to participate when the EESS was announced in 2013, ongoing negotiations are giving the Lighting Council reason to be hopeful that the situation can still be resolved – Lighting Council understands that the NSW Office of Fair Trading is in the process of preparing an intergovernmental agreement that could pave the way for NSW to come on board. It’s welcome news for the Council; Douglas says the EESS was always intended to be a national scheme, in an attempt to improve safety outcomes and minimise the complexities resulting from state-by-state regulation. During the initial three-year period of the FluoroCycle initiative, the government enacted the Product Stewardship Act, a piece of legislation that seeks to mitigate the environmental and other impacts of a range of hazardous waste products such as mercury. FEATURE CEO Lighting Council Australia - New initiatives light the way in 2014 A conversation with Bryan Douglas BY CLAIRE THOMPSON FLUOROCYCLE – KEEPING MERCURY OUT OF LANDFILL One of the most significant developments of the last three years has been a voluntary recycling program targeting mercury-containing lamps. Called FluoroCycle, the government-funded program involves the recruitment of companies or organisations which use mercury-containing lamps. These organisations sign on to manage the costs and processes involved in recycling these products, ensuring that toxic mercury waste is kept out of landfill. Since its inception in 2010, FluoroCycle has been run by Lighting Council Australia in conjunction with the Federal Government. In July last year, Douglas and his team made an agreement with the government to continue the long-term administration of the program. The first three years of FluoroCycle have been astonishingly successful; in 2012, FluoroCycle accounted for 13 per cent of the recycling rate of mercury-containing lamps, according to Lighting Council statistics. The ongoing surge in new technologies and the efficient governance of the environmental and safety impacts of lighting products on the Australian market has kept the Lighting Council Australia busy over the last 12 months. CEO Bryan Douglas talks us through the big ticket issues in lighting regulation and legislation for 2014.
April May 2013
Lighting April 2014 - Vol 34 Issue 2