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In our book, reuse encompasses a range of activities where whole products (or whole parts of products) are used again in one piece. This includes:
"A series of manufacturing steps acting on an end-of-life part or product in order to return it to like-new or better performance, with warranty to match."
It is the only option that requires a full treatment process – like new manufacture – to guarantee the performance of the finished object. As such it necessarily involves more effort, time and cost – but you do get the quality guarantee.
Remanufacturing has a long history in the UK, across the whole range of industrial sectors. In total, the unsung UK remanufacturing industry employs more than 50,000 people and contributes around £5 billion to GDP.
Remanufacturing is different from recycling because, as with all product reuse options, it involves preserving the whole form of things. In contrast, recycling activities require the destruction of the product to its component materials so they can be melted, smelted or reprocessed into new forms. These could be the same products (called closed loop recycling) or new ones (open loop recycling).
Reuse and remanufacture come at a high end of the waste hierarchy, meaning they are often environmentally and economically next best options to reducing the quantity of waste produced. This is typically because the whole product is retained, and often - particularly in straight reuse - very little input is required to either bring it to or maintain a useable standard.
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