Mitre 10 NZ Lightbulb recycle program

by | Apr 26, 2022

Mitre 10 New Zealand Lightbulb Recycle Sustainability Manager Julie Roberts explains the program to a Mitre 10 New Zealand Customer.

Following the successful introduction of Pot Recycle in November 2021, Mitre 10 New Zealand has launched a second national product stewardship scheme, Lightbulb Recycle, in partnership with specialist waste and recycling business Interwaste.

Mitre 10 Lightbulb Recycle offers customers a solution for the disposal of old household lightbulbs of any kind.

The scheme is expected to also raise awareness around the safe disposal of lightbulbs which should not be disposed of in household waste as many contain components made of hazardous materials, like mercury, which contaminates landfill and pollute waterways.

The service is now available through all 84 of the co-operative’s stores nationwide and customers can simply drop their old bulbs into the Lightbulb Recycle boxes at their local store.

Mitre 10 then sends the recycled bulbs to Interwaste where they are dismantled and the materials recovered to then be repurposed into raw materials for other uses. Glass, for example, can be repurposed into glass wool insulation batts, mercury is extracted and repurposed for use in the dental industry, while metals such as aluminum are separated and recycled for industrial use.

Product stewardship occurs when a company or manufacturer takes responsibility for the full lifecycle of a product, by recovering product and/or packaging and repurposing the materials new products.

As with Pot Recycle, which closes the loop on plastic ID5 plant and seedling posts, Lightbulb Recycle supports the transition from a throwaway linear economy, where disposal is mainly to landfill, towards a circular economy where waste is repurposed into new manufacturing pathways.

Grant Fraser, Chief Legal & Property Officer and Executive Sponsor for Sustainability, acknowledges that the co-operative’s sustainability journey still has a long way to go but says Mitre 10 is committed to making a real and sustainable impact on the environment and its local communities.

“We have much still to do but every change we as a business make and every solution we develop for our customers contributes to the country’s drive to become more sustainable. Pot Recycle has diverted almost 10 tonnes of plastic from landfill to date,” he said.

Mr Fraser said that Mitre 10 has also recently introduced a Sustainable Packaging Policy, which requires all supply partners to reduce unnecessary packaging and to use only materials that are home compostable or fully recyclable by 2025.