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New Zealand lighting industry product stewardship scheme: Phase 1 assessment and review

Publication date:  January 2008
Publication reference number:  CR 74

This report investigates ways to promote the recycling and better management of mercury-containing lamps. It makes several recommendations to guide the development of a stewardship scheme and describes such schemes overseas.

The report reviews the increased use of mercury-containing lamps, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and examines ways to lower concerns over the health and environmental impacts of mercury. Although many mercury-containing lamps lead to lower mercury emissions over their life cycle due to their higher energy efficiency than normal lamps, there are opportunities to reduce emissions further through better end-of-life management.

The report recommends that recycling rates be increased from nine per cent via a voluntary industry-led product stewardship scheme. Product stewardship involves those in the manufacture, use and disposal of a product taking responsibility for the environmental effects of their product throughout its life.

Commissioned by the Lighting Council and the Electricity Commission, this independent report was prepared by the environmental consultants Stewardship Solutions with project support from the Ministry for the Environment.

The report is part of a series of three reports that strengthen the evidence base for a potential industry-led voluntary product stewardship scheme. The other reports are Mercury Inventory of New Zealand 2008 and Life Cycle Assessment of Product Stewardship Options for Mercury-Containing Lamps in New Zealand.