From waste to wonder - A landfill waste free future in retail lighting

15 January 2024

Imagine a world where design meets responsibility.

 

Lighting that not only shines bright but does so sustainably. A new realm of innovative lighting solutions that don’t just light up your retail spaces, but cut down energy usage, reduce CO2 emissions and minimise landfill waste. These luminaires aren’t just your average retail track spotlights; they are eco-champions, paving the way towards a sustainable future.

The environmental impact of retail lighting

We use 100 billion tons of resources to power the global economy each year, of which only 7% comes from recycled sources. * This figure is astonishing, and consumers and retailers alike are pushing more than ever for sustainable lighting solutions.

Consider the manufacturing process of traditional aluminium lights: The materials needed for aluminium oxide extracted from mines have links to deforestation, erosion, and environmental contamination. Typically, aluminium and traditional aluminium retail lighting are imported into the UK which contributes to carbon emissions generated from shipping and transportation.

Aluminium is incredibly energy-intensive to produce and takes a shocking 17,000 Kw per hour just to produce 1 single ton of aluminium. That is the equivalent amount of energy an average detached house in the UK uses over 4 years! *

Most retail lighting fixtures don’t get recycled, instead, they end up in landfills, forgotten. In 2023, research found that approximately 19 million LED, solar and decorative lights ended up in UK landfill waste. * Whether the removal of lighting fixtures is due to the end of the lease, shop closures or upgrades, this has a significant impact on our planet.

*Source: Recolight, Oct 2023 

What can we do? 

We want to help build a more sustainable future within retail lighting, so, we asked ourselves, “What can we do?” and considered what change we could make for a more sustainable industry.
Our answer? Plant-based polymer lights, manufactured in the UK, are fully upgradable, recyclable, and even industrially compostable.

The NORT range

NORT and NORT GS are track spotlights, 3D printed from ethically sourced biopolymers. The first of their kind, they are high-quality fittings that are recyclable, reusable, and completely upgradeable, designed to reduce energy consumption in both manufacture and operation. The modular design of these lights allows parts to be changed and upgraded easily, meaning that they will always use the latest and most energy-efficient components. 

 

Using biopolymer materials rather than traditional aluminium housing we can reduce carbon emissions during manufacture by up to 95%*. Additionally, on-demand 3D printing means no waste, reduced production time and no tooling costs, plus the removal of long shipping journeys for parts therefore significantly reducing transport-related emissions.

The modular design of these lights means that components like lamp holders, track adaptors, heat sinks, internal screws, and wiring can be re-used multiple times. We have invested in technology and machinery that allows us to shred the biopolymer elements and reform them into brand-new products. This means no more unnecessary landfill waste.

A standout feature of our biopolymer lighting range is the buy-back value that encourages its reuse and recycling. A compelling benefit for retailers to upgrade their lighting systems responsibly and recycle them knowing nothing will go to waste, whilst enjoying the benefits of credit towards their next investment when replacing or upgrading their lights.

In essence, the NORT range is a win-win for retailers: they meet the increasing demand for environmentally friendly solutions, ensure operational efficiency, enhance the shopping environment, and provide an economically viable option for sustainable lighting upgrades within the retail space.

Incorporating sustainability in retail lighting

We know that implementing sustainable lighting solutions in retail has its challenges; The initial cost, retrofitting, and ensuring compatibility with design aesthetics. However, we are constantly working to bridge that gap between adaptable sustainable lighting solutions and the standard issue of aluminium lights.

We believe that trends such as circularity, sustainability, the rise of smart lighting systems, dynamic control and sustainable LED technology will continue to dominate the industry. Therefore, building sustainable practices in retail lighting is essential for mitigating environmental impact, meeting consumer expectations, building a positive reputation, complying with regulations, cutting costs, managing risk, and fostering long-term business success. 

Businesses that adopt sustainability practices align themselves with societal expectations as eco-consciousness becomes a considerable influence on consumer purchasing decisions. Furthermore, embracing sustainability in retail lighting not only demonstrates a commitment to environmental responsibility but also contributes to operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and brand image.

Our Managing Director Mark says…

‘’For the next 12 months and beyond, the lighting industry will focus on circularity to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill. Many manufacturers continue to push focus towards their ESG commitments including energy in use and the sustainability of their owned buildings, without taking responsibility for the environmental damage caused by their products at the end of life.

We have seen some strong moves to rectify this with some companies focusing on re-working old luminaires for continued use, but the big change has to come through manufacturing products that are upgradeable and recyclable by the lighting industry, thereby securing their use over and over again.”

We believe the future of lighting rests in using additive manufacturing with plant-based polymers; materials that are recycled and recyclable and, with investment in recycling, incentivise retailers to return products to us for recycling and reuse.

In a nutshell…

Sustainability in retail has a far-reaching positive impact and moving to more environmentally friendly retail lighting is one way you can be part of the change – reducing landfill waste, promoting the reuse, and recycling of products and actively contributing to cleaning up the retail lighting industry.

We look forward to bringing you along on this journey to a more sustainable future.

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