Health and safety: the case of lamps’ treatment in Austria

Austria follows EU legislation with regards to WEEE, for instance, clear detailed instructions are given for the treatment of lamps (WEEE Management Ordinance Austria):

  • Article 12. (1) Whole straight fluorescent lamps, specially shaped fluorescent lamps, compact fluorescent lamps and high-pressure discharge lamps shall be treated by applying dismantling techniques (e.g. cutting-separating processes). Dismantling techniques are processes in which at least the end pieces and the fluorescent substance are removed before the lamps are crushed.
  • (2) Broken lamps, cullet from lamps and mercury-containing backlighting lamps shall be crushed in a shredder irrespective of the arrangement of the components. It is only after crushing that the components shall be separated.
  • (3) The fluorescent powder shall be separated from the glass envelope by a dry mechanical process and shall be collected separately.
  • (4) During the treatment of lamps, diffuse mercury emissions and diffuse dust emissions shall be prevented. Mercury released during the treatment process and the dusts generated shall be collected.
  • (5) Residual mercury and fluorescent materials still adhering to the glass and metal fractions obtained shall be treated in such a way that the limit value of 5 mg/kg dry mass is not exceeded by the residual mercury contamination. The same shall apply to broken lamps and cullet from lamps.
  • (6) The soda-lime glass fraction collected separately and the metal fraction shall be recycled. The remaining fractions, in particular fluorescent powder, shall be recycled, especially in lamp production, where this makes environmental sense and is technically feasible and if the resulting additional cost is not unreasonable in comparison with other treatment processes.”
  • Similar detailed regulations are established for the treatment of the refrigeration circuit of cooling and air-conditioning equipment and treatment of the insulating foam of cooling equipment.
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