Report warns Government over remanufacturing opportunities08 December 2014

The government has been warned that it must do more to lift the regulatory burden on UK remanufacturing if the sector's "enormous economic, social and environmental potential" is to be realised.

A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group (APSRG) and All-Party Parliamentary Manufacturing Group (APMG) follows an eight-month inquiry chaired by MPs Caroline Spelman and Barry Sheerman.

The 108-page report lays out more than 20 recommendations for government and industry, warning that with the future of manufacturing "inextricably linked to environmental sustainability", remanufacturing must play an increasingly critical role in helping reduce the consumption of virgin raw materials and in exploiting new areas of comparative advantage.

The report warns that despite its expansion in recent years, the UK remanufacturing sector continues to face significant barriers to growth due to an ongoing regulatory focus on lower denominators of the waste hierarchy such as recycling, rather than on encouraging minimisation of material usage through remanufacture.

Recommendations include calling on government to adopt a legal definition of remanufacturing to provide clarity between it and other aspects of the circular economy, as well as amending 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.

It further calls on government to lead by example by putting UK-remanufactured items at the heart of government procurement projects, including office furnishing, electrical equipment and medical supplies.

The report also calls on industry to work more collaboratively across the supply chain, and challenges Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and third party remanufacturers to open clearer lines of communication between themselves.

Spelman said: "The UK can be a world leader in remanufacturing excellence, but only if government and industry set themselves ambitious targets and commit to working together to realise the enormous 'triple win' potential that remanufacturing offers in economic, social and environmental terms.

"The opportunities are enormous. Remanufacturing increases the potential for reshoring parts and products, provides opportunities for improving national resource resilience and has the potential for economic growth and the creation of thousands of skilled jobs, particularly at SME level. As we approach the next election, we urge this government and the next to do more to exploit this important new frontier of economic and environmental growth potential."

Ian Vallely

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