Bentham and Holroyd has won a Department of Trade and Industry Smart Award to develop a machine for recycling low-pressure sodium lamps.
There are 15 million sodium lamps in use in the UK, according to the company. Uses include illuminating streets and motorways. But their content of unstable pure sodium means that disposal using traditional methods such as landfill is becoming difficult because of tougher environmental controls.
Bentham and Holroyd has devised a low-cost disposal system which separates each constituent of the lamps for recycling. This produces high-grade soda glass in cullet form, pure sodium, aluminium for compacting, and ceramics for mixing with other materials.
The company has done preliminary design work on the new machine. The Smart Award will help fund a prototype. If the prototype is successful the company aims to manufacture the machine for lease or sale.