When you decide to throw away your LED lighting after its long lifetime, it will not contain the hazardous material that compact fluorescent bulbs contain, but it will fill space in a landfill. And like most mass produced products, the final product takes a lot of energy and resources to produce. So making LED lumianires with recyclable materials is a more sustainable, and perhaps even less costly.
In an effort to promote LED luminaire recyclability, Eneref Institute, a research and advocacy organization for sustainable development, published a report that recognized the enhanced sustainability of the Recruit™ wall mount security fixture kit from A.L.P.’s LexaLite® brand. The Recruit LED wall mount security fixture kit features a contemporary style with a thermally conductive polymer housing. The 8”x 8” size can house customer-supplied LED arrays, several driver options, and a photocell.
Eneref Report Says Polycarbonate More Sustainable than Aluminum
Eneref Institute’s report looked at opportunities to replace aluminum parts in LED luminaires with polycarbonate, with the overall goal of reducing the environmental impact of the lighting industry. According to the Eneref report, thermoplastic heat sinks require merely one-four as much energy to melt compared to aluminum heat sinks. Melting the material before it can be reformed is the primary step in recycling. Furthermore, the report goes on to describe how polycarbonate requires less energy to ship compared to the same volume of aluminum because it is less dense and therefore weighs less.
“It’s not surprising that an innovative industry leader, like A.L.P., would be an early adopter of polycarbonate heat sinks,” explained Seth Warren Rose, founding director of Eneref Institute. “Done responsibly, drilling for petrochemical hydrocarbons—the raw material of plastics—can be less destructive to the environment than mining for aluminum,” Rose explains.
Combining components of the same material streamlines both the manufacturing and recycling of luminaires, according to the Eneref report. Additionally, the report asserts that with fewer components made from fewer materials, the purchasing, shipping, and warehousing are simplified. Notably, according to Eneref, polycarbonate, a thermoplastic, can be economically recycled into secondary, post-industry applications.