Sri Lanka becomes first South Asian country to recycle CFLs
Sri Lanka has set an example for developed nations struggling to find solution for safe disposal of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Sri Lanka has become the first country in South Asia to recycle CFLs.
A recycling plant Asia Recycling, owned by Orange Electric, has 40 percent share in CFL market. It manufactures around 0.6 million bulbs every month. The company took the responsibility for the proper recycling of 0.5 million bulbs that are disposed in Sri Lanka every month.
The plant is operational since 2011. It was set up in a small town 35 km from Colombo in parternship with Nordic Recycling AB of Sweden. It has capacity to recycle upto 30 million CFLs annually. This number is thrice the annual usage in Sri Lanka.
To ensure proper collection of maximum disposed CFLs, the company makes regular collections from banks, schools, universities, factories, hospitals and government agencies. For other consumers and households the company has provided designated collection centres and has also placed collection boxes at supermarkerts and distributor points.
To encourage efficient disposal, the company is also enticing consumers with monetary incentive. For example, on returning any brand CFL bulb to a vendor, a consumer gets 10LKR discount on new purchase.
The Pitipana recycling plant features a Mercury Recovery Technology machine imported from Sweden. After collection manual separation is conducted before CFL waste is fed into MRT machine where it is broken down into plastic, metal and glass fractions. A second tumbling cycle is required to breakdown the glass containing mercury.
The extracted mercury is transported to Germany, which is the only country to have mercury recycling technology. Treatment of a single unit costs about 25-30LKR.
To ensure safety of workers, company adheres to adequate safety norms. All workers wear personal protective gear before entering the plant. Also, company conducts periodic surveillance and audits to assess the status of compliance to OSHA (Occupational safety and Health Administration) standards.
The company is trying hard to streamline its collection mechanism along with expanding the services to other countries including India.
Considering the status of recycling in India, Sri Lanka can prove to be boon for the nation provided the ex-generation political leaders comprehend its relevance.