UK company brings lamp recycling system to the States

Balcan Engineering Ltd.’s waste lamp recycling system is now available in the United States. The system crushes whole lamps and gas-filled bulbs, as well as debris from broken lamps, then safely separates the components and cleanly collects them into drums.

There is no need for manual sorting, as Balcan’s system can process a variety of bulbs at the same time – including compact fluorescent lamps and energy-saving bulbs, along with plastic-sleeved fluorescent tubes. This method results in a separated assortment of glass, mercury, and a mixture of plastic and metal materials. Alternatively, when only one type of bulb is processed, then all components will be separated. For example, fluorescent tubes are sorted independently into glass, aluminum and phosphor powder containing mercury.

As most lamps contain mercury, the machine uses negative pressure operation to separate it out and ensure the phosphor dust and vapor are correctly handled for disposal. This not only allows the other parts – glass, metals and plastics – to be recycled for further use, but also diminishes the negative impact that mercury has on the environment and human health.

The system only uses 10 to 20 kilowatts of energy, compared with up to 50 kw by similar machinery, which helps reduce its carbon footprint. Balcan has also replaced its longest inclined conveyor with a vertical vibrating spiral elevator that takes up less horizontal space, so the overall size of the system is more compact. An additional benefit of these spiral elevators is that they are made of steel, which will not only overcome the traditional wear and tear of conventional fabric-belted conveyors, but will also convey materials up the spiral in the direction of the vibration, so that the aggressive nature of the glass debris should take many more years to wear the metal away.

With one model already in use in Massachusetts, and five more to be installed in various states by the end of the year, three models of Balcan’s waste lamp recycling system are available in the United States:

In 2006 the company won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s highest accolade for business success – for its innovative design and efficient, economical, and environmental processing. For more information, please visit www.cfl-lamprecycling.com.