Around 12% of Belgians still throw their used light bulbs in a household waste bin and 8% put it in a bottle bank, Recupel revealed on Wednesday. Recupel is the association that handles the collection of used light bulbs and electric appliances in Belgium. If Recupel accepts that “Belgians are getting better at walking to the recycling point or shop to get rid of used light bulbs”, a large part of the population is still disposing of them in other, non-authorised, ways (bin-bags, bottle banks). The figures given by Recupel come from an inquiry done by the association after their 2013 information campaign, during which they spoke to 1,000 Belgian adults in charge of their household’s shopping. According to this investigation, three out of four citizens take their used light bulbs to a recycling point, which makes Belgians “good recyclers” according to Recupel.
The alternative for recycling light bulbs, taking them back to where they were bought, is not as well- known or popular as the recycling point. Around six in ten Belgians know that they can take used light bulbs back to the shop, while 90% know they can get rid of them at a recycling point.
To increase the recycling figures, Recupel will keep up its information campaign on light bulbs. “Light bulbs often contain a small quantity of toxic substances (like Mercury) which should not be released into the environment” says Peter Sabbe, General Manager of Recupel. “What’s more (….) certain components such as glass or metal can be recycled and reused”.