WEEE – Recycling & Product Disposal

The Waste Batteries Regulations

Under the Waste Batteries Regulations, Lyco Direct Ltd offer a take-back scheme for all portable waste batteries.

You can return your waste batteries to our business premises in person – Unit 10a, Clarke Road, Milton Keynes, MK 1ZR and we will organise their safe removal. Please do not post us your batteries.

Alternatively,

Business Customers can:

–        Order your own standard battery collection box by going online at https://www.erp-batteries.co.uk/request-box/

–         Order boxes for multiple locations if you think you will be collecting a large quantity of batteries, by phoning 0845 685 2424 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) and leaving your name, company name, email address and phone number. Someone will call you back within 48 hours to identify your needs. The battery collection box service is provided by ERP Batteries.

Householders can:

–        Return waste batteries to your local portable waste battery recycling facility (find your nearest site at www.recyclenow.co.uk)

–       Use your local amenities. Most supermarkets and shops that sell batteries will have collection bins for used batteries, along with some libraries or schools.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations (WEEE)

Unwanted electrical equipment (including spent light bulbs and tubes) is the UKs fastest growing type of waste, and sending it to landfill can cause lead and other toxins to leak out and contaminate soil and water, harming wildlife and human health.

The WEEE Directive requires countries to maximise separate collection and environmentally friendly processing of waste materials. In the UK this means that retailers like us must offer our customers buying new equipment a free take-back service for their old electricals.

If you’re not sure if your electrical item can be recycled, have a look for the crossed-out wheelie bin symbol on the packaging, or on the item itself. If the symbol appears on the replacement item, this is an indication that the old model should be recycled.

We’re pleased to offer our customers free recycling for eligible household electrical items on a like-for-like basis so when you buy a new item from us, we will make sure your old model is taken care of.

You can return your electrical items to us for recycling to our business premises in person – Unit 10a, Clarke Road, Milton Keynes, MK 1ZR and we will organise their safe removal. Please do not post light bulbs or tubes to us.

Alternatively:

Business Customers can:

–         Order your own light bulb collection box in which to store larger quantities of used light bulbs and tubes, by calling us on 0843 317 7820. When the box is full, call us to organise collection – delivery of the box is free, but collection attracts a fee.

Householders can:

–         Recycle your electricals locally – go to www.recyclenow.com to find out your nearest recycling centre.

For more news about Lyco Direct try our Lighting News section, alternatively try our Lighting Advice section for some great lighting ideas and guidance.

LED GU10 – MR16 – good for what?

The GU10 and MR16 have become a massively popular double act, a lighting type you’d be able to find on just about any street in the country. If you want stylish lights, you can’t discount the MR16. For the uninitiated, a MR16 is a multifaceted reflector bulb with a diameter of two inches, while the GU10 is a ceramic bi-pin twist-to-lock mount.

Useful lighting

What makes GU10-variant lights so useful is that they use mains voltage 240v rather than the 12v used by other types of MR16 lights. This makes them lower maintenance in a few respects than low voltage alternatives, especially when designing your lighting.

Most importantly, there’s no need for transformers, making certain fittings such as ceiling lights much easier to fit into rooms – transformers aren’t invisible, after all. The voltage drop in long lengths of cabling is also much less of an issue with GU10s than in 12 volt lights. Of course, there are benefits to lower-voltage MR16 lights too, such as increased safety, greater efficiency and brighter output. Each type has its benefits.

The GU10-MR16 combo has become a mainstay of homes and businesses, but the MR16 started out its life with an entirely different purpose in mind. It was originally designed for use with slide projectors, but now can be found in use in a wide array of domestic and commercial roles.

Directional

Thanks to the reflective glass inner of the MR16, it offers very clear directional light output, making it perfect within recessed ceiling light fixtures, pendants, track light fittings or even standalone desk lights. A key benefit of lights like the MR16 is that they’re small, letting them become “invisible” in-situ much more easily than a traditional incandescent bulb. This is what makes them so useful as ceiling lights, able to fit within much more discreet housings than most other types of lights. If you’re after style and lighting power, you can’t go wrong here.

The directional output also offers great control, letting you keep certain areas in the shadows if need be, although wider-throw options like the wide flood Sylvania Halogen bulb are also available. Wide-throw bulbs tend to offer a beam of up to 60 degrees, which although extremely precise are generally less powerful than the 10 degree models that are also available. The MR16 halogens offer superb overall control over the lighting of a room, or a specific object if moody spotlighting is what you’re after.

Issues

There are a few downsides to halogen-based MR16-GU10 team-ups, though. The pressurised bulb gets extremely hot in operation, which means it need to be placed carefully to avoid becoming a fire risk, and next to modern energy-saving bulbs they’re relatively power-hungry. Our most popular MR16 halogens are 50W, such as our own bestselling low-cost Halogen bulb, and 35W bulbs are also common. The lifespan of a bulb is generally between 3,000 and 5,000 hours too. It’s not bad by any means, but doesn’t match the stamina of LED.

But solved by…

All these little issues are solved by what’s been seen for a long time as a “holy grail” within the lighting biz – an LED-based retro-fit alternative. A bulb like the Sylvania LED GU10 is incredibly versatile and will fit into the same fixtures as a traditional Halogen MR16 model, using the GU10 base and being of a similar size. It’s a little more expensive than the traditional pressurised Halogen type, but for many the extra initial cost is more than worth it.

The Sylvania is rated at 350 lumens, equivalent to a 50W GU10 halogen bulb, but consumes just 5.5W of power. It runs much cooler, and will naturally cost less in electricity too, 87% less than the halogen equivalent. If that doesn’t get your energy bill dropping, nothing will.

Using an array of white LEDs, the Sylvania’s lifespan is incredible – rated for up to 25,000 hours of use, almost ten times the stamina of some halogen bulbs.  You could leave these running all day in an office or bar for literally years.

There are very few disadvantages to these new kind of MR16 lights, as they can be dimmed just like more traditional bulbs and pack just as much lighting power. LED GU10s tend to offer quite as highly-directional options as halogens, though, as they do not use the same carefully cut reflective interior that helps to form tight beams in traditional MR16 bulbs.

Efficient lighting

Better for the environment, safer and better for your pocket in the long run, it’s no wonder that thousands of business owners were waiting for years for something like these energy-efficient MR16s to come along. However, whether halogen or LED sounds like your cup of tea, our wide range of bulbs offers the perfect lighting complement to any stylish interior.

Take a look at our full range of LED GU10 light bulbs

Looking for more news, inspiration and advice? Try our Lighting Advice section.

Benefits of LED bulbs

There’s no question that investing in LED lighting for your business will save you money long-term, thanks in no small part to government initiatives that are making it increasingly expensive for companies that don’t make the change. But why is there such a major focus on making the change in the first place? Join us as we explore the benefits of LED and what they mean to your business.

The standard tungsten filament-based light bulb – or the incandescent bulb as it’s commonly called – has been lighting up our business and homes largely unchanged for a century now. But as far as light sources go it’s massively inefficient: the light is only produced when the filament itself becomes so hot that it glows, and so it’s no surprise to hear that your standard incandescent bulb uses around 90% of the energy it consumes on creating not light, but heat.

The latest generation of LED bulbs, however, are far more efficient and last longer, which means even though they cost more up front, that initial cost will be offset typically within a year or two. But having already looked at just how much you can expect to save by switching your business to LED in our LED- how much will I save feature, let’s take a look at actual benefits of LED, whether we’re talking a small business looking for a more energy-efficient lighting solution, or a large-scale entertainment premises with significant energy demands.

The financial case for switching

We’ve already looked in depth at just how much your business can stand to save by switching to LED lighting. But to recap quickly, it comes down to LEDs being cheaper to run and lasting longer than incandescent bulbs. However, they’re also far more expensive up front, so it’ll be a while before you see any real return on your investment. Once you do, however, there’ll be no denying that LED is the cheaper lighting option in the long-term.

The benefits of LED

So with that basic financial principle out of the way, let’s look more closely at the benefits of LED from a technology point of view.

Dimmable

The process isn’t quite as simple as with incandescent bulbs, but the good news is that unlike fluorescent lights, LED lights are very much dimmable. Ironically, the complications are a result of LED’s greater efficiency. Because power requirements are so low, dimming the light to anything less than 10% brightness using a traditional dimmer switch will reduce the power so much that the light won’t illuminate at all. Also, LED bulbs require constant power flow, but traditional dimmer switches typically work by rapidly switching the light off and on again. On the plus side, that makes dimmable LEDs far smoother than their incandescent counterparts, and newer dimmer switches are available that are designed specifically for use with LED bulbs. It goes without saying that LED offers a far better dimmable option than any fluorescent counterpart.

Instant light

Unlike other types of light, LEDs are solid state, which means they’re either on or off. That means none of the flickering or slow warm-up typically associated with fluorescent lighting. Simply put, once you switch it on, it’s on.

Low heat production

Probably the biggest difference between LED bulbs and incandescent bulbs is that with the LED you’re not creating light only as a by-product of large quantities of heat, as is the case with incandescents. Aside from the obvious energy saving argument, the lack of heat produced by LED lights means the ambient temperature in the room remains constant regardless of whether the light is on or off, and the bulb itself can be touched or handled without fear of burning, which is a massive safety risk when it comes with incandescent and especially halogen light bulbs.

Energy-saving

Energy efficiency is an important topic at the moment, not only from a financial point of view but an ecological one too. Fortunately, LED light bulbs score highly on both counts. Incredibly, LED lighting can use as much as 85% less power than incandescent bulbs, and 50% less than fluorescent tubes. Aside from the obvious cost-saving side of things, there’s also an ecological point to consider here in that you’re only using the amount of power that you need, and letting little or none go to waste. That should appeal in particular to larger businesses or high-profile venues.

Long life

Where LED really saves money long-term is in the fact that it’s not just more energy-efficient, but has a massively improved lifespan too compared with older types of lighting technology. So just how much longer are we talking about? You could be looking at as much as 50 times – in other words you’re going through just one light bulb where previously you would have gone through 50. That saves you not just the amount of money you would have had to spend on the bulbs themselves, but also the time that buying them would have taken, the space you’d need to store them and the resources it would take to safely destroy them. This doesn’t even take into account any extra cost required to change those hard to fit / out of reach bulbs that turn bulb changing into a project itself.

The retrofit solution

The cost-saving benefits of LED lighting make it a no-brainer for new installations, but thanks to a rapidly expanding retrofit range, it’s becoming increasingly popular as a like-for-like replacement for existing bulbs too. LED retrofit lights are designed to be direct replacements for existing fluorescent, incandescent or halogen light bulbs, boasting the exact same size, shape and lighting performance but in a package that uses far less power and lasts up to 10 times longer.

LED in the spotlight

The combination of energy efficiency and far longer lifespan explains why LED light bulbs are such a popular choice over older types of lighting product – even though they’re more costly up front. But even ignoring financial considerations, LED light bulbs are safer to handle, don’t affect your ambient temperature, are easier to destroy as they contain less hazardous material than rival bulb types, while their longer lifespan means having to keep fewer bulbs in stock in the first place. Whether you’re a major corporate concern, a small business, an electrician or simply someone looking to make an intelligent choice for lighting your own home, the benefits of LED make it an easy decision to make.

Take a look at our wide selection of LED Bulbs.

Looking for more lighting news, information and guidance? Check out our  Lighting Advice section.

LED lamps v non-LED lamps – when is LED best

You could describe LED lighting technology as a bit of a late bloomer. For years, it was always the little red power light, while incandescents, CRT tubes and fluorescents got on with all the magic. But just look at LED now! Not only is LED technology bringing unprecedented depth and contrast to the latest cutting edge televisions and monitors, it’s also starting to revolutionise the world of lighting – simply look at the number of cars that now offer twinkly LED running lights and back lights.

Format friendly

LED lamps are starting to hit the market in formats suitable for most business and home applications. Multiple options are now available including LED bulbs to fit old favourites such as bayonet, screw and GU10 fittings. Needless to say, tubes and other specialist fittings have all been catered for.

All round durability

So what makes LED lights so good then? Well, first and foremost, incredible durability. LED lights just go on and on (that LED power light is always the last thing to go on a broken TV, after all). It’s not out of the question that an LED bulb could give you up to 50,000 hours of continuous use. This means they’re absolutely perfect for applications where the lights need to be on constantly, such as areas with no natural light or 24-7 working, as well as corridors, stairwells and security areas. This durability means they’re the perfect fit for hard to reach areas such as high ceilings or sealed fittings, or in areas where it’s impractical to stop everything to change a bulb, such as busy workshops.

Energy efficiency benefits

To go with the durability, LED bulbs are also incredibly energy efficient, drawing only 1/5 of the wattage of traditional bulbs. This means that they’re ideal for use in green builds or large scale projects where energy bills are a concern. Especially in areas that require constant 24-hour lighting, the initial costs of switching over to LED lighting will be paid back very quickly indeed and savings will then become very noticeable.

As with energy-saving bulbs, hand-in-hand with energy efficiency comes low-temperature operation. Because LED bulbs give off considerably less heat than an incandescent or halogen bulb, they can be used in areas where hotter bulbs can’t be, and will not heat damage fittings and shades. This means they are also ideal in areas where reducing ambient temperatures is desirable, such as offices and factories with a lot of electrical equipment, as well as venues and nightclubs.

Future of LED lighting

This being a fairly new use of LED technology, there isn’t quite the range yet as offered by other traditional lighting types. Particularly in the higher wattage output sectors (such as 75w+ in GLS), there are yet to be LED equivalents. Candle and golfball LED lamps are currently only available in 25w, though a 40w option is on the way. There is also nothing yet that matches the concentrated power and tiny size of a halogen capsule bulb. However this is a very young technology and it’s very likely that we’ll start to see it taking off in a number of different areas over time, as the benefits LED lighting offer are excellent.

Take a look at our full range of LED light bulbs / lamps.

Looking for more news and inspiration? Try our Lighting Advice section.