Bring on the March of the Remakers

A new report has urged government to do more to encourage remanufacturing

Research carried out by the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG) shows that the UK is lagging behind competitor industrial nations in its exploration and adoption of truly closed loop manufacturing systems.

The group has highlighted that the USA is home to a remanufacturing sector valued at $43 billion which employs over 180,000 people.

Meanwhile APSRG says that the value of remanufacturing in the UK is currently £2.4billion but that this has the potential to increase to £5.6 billion and create thousands more jobs.

APSRC warns that the UK is missing out on big economic and environmental benefits by failing to invest in remanufacturing.

The report, Remanufacturing: Towards a resource efficient economy, will be presented to parliament tomorrow. Recommendations include a call to firm up the definition of remanufacturing and setting key criteria for analysing the impact of remanufacturing systems.

APSRG has also called for a dedicated government fund to be established to support remanufacturing in industries where it is under developed.

APSRG has also called for the establishment of centres of excellence for remanufacturing across the UK and the creation of a cross-departmental Committee on remanufacturing

Recognising existing barriers to remanufacturing, APSRG has called for government to amend its Guidance on the Legal Definition of Waste so that products destined for remanufacture are not described as waste.

The inquiry leading to this new report was chaired by Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman MP. Ahead of parliament’s consideration of APSRG’s latest work she commented: “The renaissance of British manufacturing has created an outstanding opportunity for remanufacturing in the UK. But the full potential has not yet nearly been realized.

“The Government must act now to ensure the UK does not lag further behind in the rapidly growing global remanufacturing industry.

Remanufacturing: Towards a resource efficient economy

Report reccomendations:

  1. The Government should adopt a definition of remanufacturing to provide clarity to business on what it deems as remanufacturing versus other aspects of the circular economy, such as refurbishment and reuse.
  2. The Government should develop new criteria (detailed in the report) to identify areas where the UK has the best potential to explore remanufacturing. The Government should then develop a fund to optimise the development of remanufacturing in these areas.
  3. The Government should amend its Guidance on the Legal Definition of Waste to distinguish a product that is due to be remanufactured as being exempt from those products considered as waste. This will ensure that they do not fall within the remit of waste regulations.
  4. The Government should amend the Freedom of Information Act to include the requirement that a designer is compelled to state, upon request from a manufacturer or remanufacturer, the components of a product to enable easier remanufacturing.
  5. The Government should review the regulatory barriers to remanufacturing outlined above and address the legal black holes identified.
  6. The Government should consider the potential of a certified mark for remanufacturing to demonstrate that products have been tested and fully comply with those standards of a new product. The Government should also adopt whole life costing which would incentivise the purchase of remanufactured goods.
  7. The Government should set up a Centre of Excellence for those products that have the most potential for remanufacturing in the UK, for example engines. Centre of Excellences need to be linked with a leading UK University to enable key players to collaborate on a hub-and-spoke basis. This will encourage and stimulate greater knowledge transfer and understanding about the practical application and potential of remanufacturing in the UK.
  8. The Government should consider implementing a tax break for remanufacturers in order to encourage the uptake of remanufacturing in the UK.