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Ikea to Install Reverse Vending Machines for Light Bulbs in Europe

Ikea customers in the UK, Germany and Denmark will soon have the option to recycle used light bulbs with so-called “reverse vending machines.”

Repant ASA, a Norwegian company that makes machines that collect bottles and cans in exchange for deposits, has designed a new machine to collect light bulbs in exchange for discount vouchers or other consumer rewards.

The machine will be marketed internationally by UK-based Revend Recycling Limited, which announced the supply agreement with Ikea.

Revend says the machine is the first domestic light bulb reverse vending recycling machine and is capable of collecting compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs), as well as incandescents and LEDs.

With the proliferation of energy-saving CFLs, recycling has become a major concern. CFLs contain small amounts of toxic mercury, which can be released into the environment, if not properly recycled. The stand-alone machine has an automated soft-drop mechanism that minimizes bulb breakage and a fume filter that absorbs any mercury leakage.

The machine automatically sends a text message when it nears full capacity, and employees can empty it without handling any of the bulbs directly.

Revend says the new light bulb recycling machines will help to increase national recycling rates and assist companies and organizations in meeting their recycling targets and environmental recycling obligations.

The machines can also be purchased with an add-on system for collecting domestic batteries.

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.

Bart King is the principal and founder of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. Follow him @bart_king and on LinkedIn.

[Read more about Bart King]

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