July 27, 2016
The CRR (Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse) reported on the investigation it undertook with WRAP Cymru, stating that it found Wales could save up to £2 billion ($2.6 billion/€2.3 billion) in material costs if it became a circular economy, as well as being able to “create more jobs and depend less on raw materials”. Remanufacturing in Wales – Landscape Review was set up after the Welsh government stated that it aims “to make Wales a circular economy”.
However, as part of this, “relatively little remanufacturing is carried out in Wales”, with manufacturing organisations there not considering remanufacturing “a high priority area due to a range of barriers”. Among these were “lack of customer demand/recognition”; a “lack of end markets”; costs; a “declining manufacturing base”; and a “lack of awareness of remanufacturing”, from both businesses and consumers.
At this point, the total value of remanufacturing in Wales across four sectors – aerospace, automotive, electronics and energy – is around £200 million ($262 million/€238 million), which amounts to 1.5 percent of the total turnover of the markets. Most remanufacturing and refurbishing takes place in aerospace and automotive markets, but the organisation believes that “there is suitable further education training available, and the Welsh workforce has the capabilities needed to carry out remanufacturing”.
The report outlines how remanufacturing “is key to achieving a circular economy”, and relied on categorising the markets and sub-sectors, before finding and listing companies, contacting them and evaluating the information discovered. In the electronics industry, it found 238 companies operating in Wales, of which 65 percent replied, and only four were confirmed remanufacturers, with a remanufacturing turnover of £10 million ($13.1 million/€11.9 million) between them.
Around six percent of the UK’s total electronics remanufacturing comes from Wales, the report found, while “product complexity and value drivers repair and refurbishment drives repair and refurbishment as the primary end of life option for electronic goods”. Three large OEMs operate in the country, but “none carries out remanufacturing”, while barriers included a “lack of customer demand and product recognition” alongside “the value and suitability of electronics for remanufacture”.
Among its recommendations for Welsh remanufacturing were: “more consumer and business education is needed”; developing remanufacturing and increasing UK exports as well as reducing unemployment; creating policies allowing the purchase of remanufactured products; encouraging producer responsibility and “designing products for remanufacture”; creating collection networks for cores; targeting funding to help “motivate the uptake”; and considering ecolabelling.
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