Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water

Industry recognised for fluoro-light recycling

Media release
14 June 2013

A number of Victorian organisations were today recognised for their commitment to keeping harmful mercury out of our environment, through their participation in a fluoro-light recycling program.

The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, presented certificates to major Victorian-based institutions and companies including National Australia Bank, the Malthouse Theatre, CitiPower, Powercor, RMIT, University of Melbourne and Transurban, in recognition of them joining the national FluoroCycle recycling scheme.

"FluoroCycle has the very important aim of reducing the amount of mercury entering the environment from the disposal of mercury-containing lighting," Ms Rishworth said.

"Although several of the organisations receiving certificates today have been signatories to the scheme for several years—indeed, RMIT and Melbourne University signed on in 2010 and 2011 respectively—it is important to publically recognise their and the other signatories' participation in and commitment to the FluoroCycle Scheme."

Currently, 185 organisations nationally, including 52 from Victoria, have signed up to the initiative. FluoroCycle is delivered jointly by Lighting Council Australia and the Australian Government on behalf of the Australian, state and territory environment ministers.

Ms Rishworth said the Australian Government particularly welcomed the participation of CitiPower and Powercor in the scheme.

"Street lighting is one of the largest lighting sectors in Australia. Together these utilities service 185,000 street lights for 49 municipal councils and VicRoads. Every year, they replace and recycle 35,000 street lamps.

"Not only does this sector use a large number of mercury-containing lamps, each lamp can contain up to 200 milligrams of mercury - more than ten times the amount found in a fluorescent light in a typical office building."

"With these utilities, along with four others around Australia, now committed to recycling 100 per cent of waste lamps, a significant amount of mercury is being diverted from landfill."

The Malthouse Theatre was recognised as the longest standing Commercial User Signatory to FluoroCycle. The theatre became a signatory in September 2010. Commercial User Signatories commit to recycling 100 per cent of their waste mercury-containing lamps.

Ms Rishworth also congratulated RMIT, which was the first university to sign on to the scheme, and the University of Melbourne for their involvement in the FluoroCycle scheme.

"Both of these respected Melbourne institutions have a long-standing and commendable commitment to FluoroCycle as part of their broader sustainability policies.

"It is particularly important that younger Australians have exposure to sustainable practices and these two universities are providing this through their commitment to schemes such as FluoroCycle."

As a facilitator for the scheme, Transurban is promoting FluoroCycle to its suppliers, customers, operators and landlords, encouraging them to recycle as many lamps as possible and to sign up to FluoroCycle.

Ms Rishworth congratulated National Australia Bank on its commitment to FluoroCycle since June 2011 and thanked it for hosting today's event.

FluoroCycle and the landmark Product Stewardship Act 2011 are both priority initiatives under Australia's National Waste Policy.