News: Remanufacturing contributes to higher skilled job opportunities
Published this month, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's report 'Towards a Circular Economy: Business rationale for an Accelerated Transition' suggests that remanufacturing will contribute to higher skilled job opportunities and new business demand.
Thursday, 3rd December 2015
According to the report, Principle 2 of the circular economy 'optimise resource yields by circulating products, components, and materials at the highest utility at all times in both technical and biological cycles', means designing for remanufacturing, refurbishing, and recycling to keep technical components and materials circulating in and contributing to the economy. Circular systems use tighter, inner loops (e.g. maintenance, rather than recycling) whenever possible, thereby preserving more embedded energy and other value. These systems also maximise the number of consecutive cycles and/or the time spent in each cycle, by extending product life and optimising reuse.
The Foundation identified a set of six actions that businesses and governments can take in order to make the transition to a circular economy: Regenerate, Share, Optimise, Loop, Virtualise, and Exchange – together they comprise the ReSOLVE framework, where 'Loop' involves remaufacturing products and components.
The report highlights that one economic opportunity of a circular economy is the impact on employment, which is largely attributable to increased spending fuelled by the lower prices expected across sectors and to the labour-intensity of high quality recycling activities and higher skilled jobs in remanufacturing.
Opportunities for companies from a cirular economy could come from lower input costs and new demand for new business services. For example, the report says that the cost of remanufacturing mobile phones could be reduced by 50% per device if the industry made phones easier to take apart, improved the reverse cycle, and offered incentives to return phones.
Parts and component remanufacturing and product refurbishment would create opportunities in specialised knowledge offerings. Collection, disassembly, refurbishment of products, integration into the remanufacturing process, and getting products out to users would all require specialised skills and process know-how.
The European Remanufacturing Council (CER) is open for business
The European Commission has asked for a coordinated voice from EU-28 remanufacturing businesses. The Conseil Européen de Remanufacture will represent small and large businesses from all remanufactured product sectors. Register your interest now!