Re-use Terminology

This work, combined with outputs from stakeholder meetings, suggests that terminology in the area of re-use underlies some confusion regarding product standards for remediated end-of-life goods. Efforts to standardise usage within product groups or sectors at least would be beneficial. The following terms related to re-use have been collected and assimilated:

  • Re-use: A generic term covering all operations where an end-of-life (EoL) product is put back into service, essentially in the same form, with or without repair or remediation. The following terms are also related to the conventional view of ‘re-use’.
    • Direct re-use: Placing back into the retail chain returned goods that have no discernable fault.
    • Redeployment: Use of a product in the same application, with no assumptions about fitness for purpose or warranty.
    • Repurposing: Use of product wholly or partly in another application.


Specific activities under re-use are associated with repair to a greater or lesser extent:

  • Repair: The correction of specified faults in a product.
  • Refurbishment: The restitution of major components to a working condition rather than ‘as new’. A level of warranty lower than the Original Equipment Manufacturer performance is characteristic.
  • Reconditioning: As refurbishment, the restitution of major components to a working condition rather than ‘as new’. A level of warranty lower than the OEM performance is characteristic. Reconditioning may place less emphasis on cosmetic appearance than refurbishment.
  • Remanufacture: A series of manufacturing steps acting on an end-of-use part or product in order to return it to like-new or better performance, with warranty to match.

The last category relates to products which are reduced to component raw materials for reprocessing into new artefacts (open or closed loop).

  • Recycling: The series of activities by which discarded materials are collected, sorted, processed, and used as raw materials in the production of new products.

The report also presents a general review of research in the field – including knowledge of key practitioners in industry – to gain insight into areas that have been poorly or well researched.