E-Waste Africa brought the first African commercial Lamp Recycling Plant to South Africa, which consists of the MP8000 Lamp Recycler which was installed and commissioned in July 2014.

Our lamp and bulb recycling plant deals with all types of commonly used lamps consisting of all shapes and sizes, e.g. straight fluorescent, u-tube, HID, sodium, compact fluorescent bulb (CFL).

The world class state of the art lamp recycling technology also means that our system leads the way for other lamp recycling plants making us a market leader in our respective industry, as it will process all compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and energy saving bulbs without the need for sorting.


Current recycling systems, only deal with specific types of lamps and the processing of others may require additional purchasing of expensive front-end add-ons or separate stand-alone systems. Some bulb recycling companies may even have to improvise, by having to manually separate the glass from the bulky plastic fitting which will otherwise cause damage to the system. This improvisation can ultimately put the machine operator at a potential severe risk from unnecessary exposure to mercury and broken glass.


Why Recycle Lamps?

Whilst most businesses are aware of the environmental impact of discarded gas discharge lamps (mercury, sodium lamps and bulbs), many households do not realise that these lamps contain mercury and the severity of the implications if mercury had to be released into the ecosystem as it incurs numerous health risks in a chain reaction.

Whilst the mercury content in bulbs has reduced significantly over the years we cannot escape the fact that today’s compact fluorescent lamps and bulbs (CFL or energy savers, as they are commonly called) still contain a few milligrams of mercury. Depending on their usage, lamps have a lifespan of a few years and whilst today’s lamps & bulbs have a lower mercury content than before, there are still many in circulation and disposed of each year which contain much higher levels of mercury.

Recycling of lamps and bulbs is the best solution for the environment for the following reasons:

  1. One fluorescent tube contains enough mercury to pollute 30,000 litres of water.
  2. Lamp materials are in general 94% glass, 5% metals or plastic and 1% mercury bearing phosphor powder – why throw away these valuable commodities?
  3. Landfill space is at a premium throughout the African continent and South Africa. The costs of disposing to these landfills increases exponentially annually.
One Lamp Recycling System - All Lamps

Whilst E-Waste Africa offers a simple, yet state of the art system to process most types of mercury lamps & bulbs it offers many variations of its lamp recycling plant. The MP4000 has one loading area for both whole and crushed lamps, whereas the slightly larger Maxi MP6000 unit is dual loading. It has two loading points which allows whole and crushed fluorescent tubes to be processed simultaneously as with all other types of lamps. You will see from the flow chart below how the two systems vary slightly. The MP8000 has a conveyor fed loading system for fluorescent tubes and is the technology we currently use in South Africa.

Our E-Waste Africa lamp and bulb recycling system has the competitive advantage of recycling all types of waste mercury bearing lamps. Unlike other systems, our lamp recycling system can process everything all together, whereas other lamp recycling methods require mercury lamps & bulbs to be separated depending on their different types.

CFL Lamp & Bulb Recycling Technology

With most of the world moving towards CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) and LED lighting in place of the incandescent light bulb, this means that there will be millions more of mercury lamps and mercury bulbs requiring recycling at their EOL (end of life).

Compact Fluorescent Lamp bulbs come in many shapes and sizes and are used on a very large scale ranging from household use, to use in large firms and factories. The light bulbs usually supplied to businesses require their own specific fitting as they do not have an integral starter (CFL-NI), however those supplied into the household sector have an integral starter (CFL-I) and are designed to fit into a standard bayonet or screw fitting.

One of the major problems about recycling these types of lamps and bulbs is that the current lamp recycling systems are unable to handle them without an expensive bolt-on or modifications. These mercury lamps and bulbs can severely damage some of the old recycling systems that are in use today. In addition, the plastic fittings and internal components do not reduce in volume throughout the crushing process and therefore do not flow fluently. Therefore, alternative systems often involve the human input of breaking the glass with a hammer, under a fume hood, to separate the components of the bulbs. All E-Waste Africa Lamp Recycling Systems incorporate the MP unit which makes light work of these types and many other types of lamps.

The E-Waste Africa Fluorescent Lamp & Bulb recycling system effortlessly separates the glass from the often bulky, plastic base, before cleaning the glass of its mercury bearing powder coating. This coating is particularly challenging and difficult to remove due to the manufacturers dosing system for coating the glass yet the E-Waste Africa MP Lamp Recycler results in crystal clear glass.

The E-Waste Africa design of lamp recycler makes the glass work against itself in the cleaning process. This results in less energy input requirements and cleaner products. Our systems process over 5000 whole linear tubes per hour..

The E-Waste Africa design of the lamp recycler makes the glass work against itself in the cleaning process. This results in less energy input requirements and cleaner products once the process is completed. Our systems are also capable of processing over 5,000 whole linear tubes per hour.

Beneficiation Metals

The by-products will then ultimately be in a more valuable form once the products are separated using the proposed technology solution.


The end-caps that are recovered from light bulbs during their recycling contain metals such as aluminium and brass together with plastics and small quantities of glass. These are generally fixed to one another and it is difficult to separate the pure metals. E-Waste Africa has developed a process in which the end-caps are comminuting to liberate the metals from one another.


After the end-caps have been granulated, the various metals present are separated from each other using a Metal vibrating separator, which separates the components based upon their density.


Our Recycling Systems not only benefits the world with the above description, but they also significantly reduce uncontrolled mercury emissions which occur during the transportation process.

The E-Waste Africa procedure offers all methods of lamp recycling and they can be used in conjunction with each other.


Beneficiation Rare Earths


LPX Luminophorous Powder Recycling Plant

The LPX Luminophorous Powder Recycling Plant utilises a patented chemical process to produce valuable rare earth metals, such as Yttrium oxide and Europium oxide, from the fine residues (luminophorous powders) generated by a lamp recycling system. The chemical process makes use of hydrometallurgical and solvent extraction processes to produce high purity rare earth metal oxides.


In addition, the mercury that is present in the powders is captured, and is converted to naturally occurring, and non-toxic Mercury sulphide (cinnabar). Thus, not only does the process provide a means to treat the toxic residue, but valuable chemicals are also produced.


The automated LPX process was developed in conjunction with the University of KwaZulu-Natal, with our pilot plant fully operational.


Our fleet of legally compliant vehicles which are registered to carry hazardous waste.


In 2006 Balcan were awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for their design of the recycler, coupled with the use of lamp crushers, an award which recognizes Balcan’s commitment to sustain the environment. E-Waste Africa chose to use Balcan as their machine supplier as they have proved they are the world’s leader in innovative recycling solutions for lamps in addition to being an environmentally conscious organization.


The advantage of the E-Waste Africa Lamp Recycling Plant is that it is a system that genuinely cares and is kinder to the environment. When looking to make an investment in a lamp recycling plant it is not only obvious to make certain it does what it says (as this ensures the validity and reliability of the investment), but it is also important to assess the overall environmental impact on using the machine thus making sure it is environmentally viable and safe.


The E-Waste Africa Lamp Recycler systems are genuinely kinder to the environment as it requires less than 15kw to run the plant and the by-products are sent for reuse into other processes so that they can be used again or made into other products. E-Waste Africa’s lamp recycling business can help with today’s carbon footprints and help with sustaining valuable carbon credits. It is also unfortunate that the by-products produced from lamp recycling have little value and purpose as the only components with any value are the metal components from the lamps. The glass and the mercury bearing phosphor powder, along with the mercury that can be distilled from it have less value than the costs involved in processing them.


It is therefore important to make certain that the recycled products are as clean as possible so that they have maximum market appeal. We believe and take pride in that; the E-Waste Africa system produces some of the cleanest glass from this type of revolutionary process.