A new report from the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG) has warned that the UK is failing to capitalise on huge potential economic and environmental advantages presented by improved remanufacturing standards and practices.
Following a three-month inquiry chaired by former environment secretary Caroline Spelman MP, the report calls on the Government to take urgent steps to improve UK remanufacturing including the adoption of an agreed definition, the setting of key criteria for analysing remanufacturing potential across different UK industries and the establishment of a Government fund to explore currently under-remanufactured industries.
It also calls for a product that is due to be remanufactured to be exempt from being classified as a waste.
Caroline Spelman (pictured) said: “The renaissance of British manufacturing has created an outstanding opportunity for remanufacturing in the UK. But the full potential has not yet nearly been realised. The Government must act now to ensure the UK does not lag further behind in the rapidly growing global remanufacturing industry.
“This report lays out clear guidelines for how Government can put remanufacturing firmly on a growth trajectory: the lifting of regulatory barriers, the establishment of remanufacturing centre of excellence, the creation of a cross-departmental committee on remanufacturing, a Government fund to support research and more. We urge the Government to do more to exploit the huge economic and environmental potential that remanufacturing presents.”
The report recommends:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Government should review the regulatory barriers to remanufacturing outlined above and address the legal black holes identified.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Government should consider implementing a tax break for remanufacturers in order to encourage the uptake of remanufacturing in the UK.