Don’t recycle, remake

Posted on 1 Apr 2010 by The Manufacturer

The British Standards Institution has released a new standard which provides a best-practice guide for remanufacture, to provide a more “environmentally acceptable” alternative to recycling.

The BSI says recycling is often bad for the environment in the context of the energy used to melt down products and then create a new one from the raw materials garnered. Instead, it says worn out products should be remanufactured into as-mew reconditioned items. It cites car engines as an example of where this is most applicable.

“Scrap metal merchants have existed almost as long as the car,” says the BSI. “Their job is to break the car down into different materials (mainly steel) and send the metal off for smelting and recycling. However, this act of recycling uses energy and produces carbon dioxide, the gas most associated with climate change. Energy is required to collect the car, remove the engine, crush it, extract the metal, smelt the metal, reform it into iron ingots and then use this to manufacture a new steel product — potentially another car engine!

“Surely all this effort could be avoided if we could turn the old engine into a new engine without completely destroying it?

“Remanufacturing transforms products from worn out into as-new condition. It’s a process that can help save materials, costs and lessen environmental impacts. It also benefits consumers by providing lower-cost high quality products.”

The standard – BS 8887-220:2010 – has been developed by developed by a committee of volunteer experts from the automotive, printer cartridge and remanufacturing industries, amongst others, and is written to be applicable to all sectors. It specifies the steps required for the remanufacture process and addresses design for manufacture, assembly, disassembly and end-of-life processing.

The standard costs £70 and there is 50 per cent discount available for BSI members. It is available in both print and digital format.