Clarifying the disagreements on various reuse options: Repair, recondition, refurbish and remanufacture

Mangesh Gharfalkar, Zulfiqur Ali, Graham Hillier

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    Earth’s natural resources are finite. To be environmentally sustainable, it may not only be necessary to use them ‘efficiently’ but also ‘effectively’. While we consider ‘repair’, ‘recondition’, ‘refurbish’ and ‘remanufacture’ to be ‘reuse’ options, not all researchers agree. Also, there is lack of clarity between the different options that are likely to be challenging for both; the policy makers who formulate policies aimed to encourage ‘reuse’ of ‘waste’ products and for decision makers to initiate appropriate action for recovering ‘reusable resources’ from ‘waste streams’. This dichotomy could result into more ‘waste’ to landfill. A systematic analysis of peer reviewed literature is conducted to understand inconsistencies and/or lack of clarity that exist between the definitions or descriptions of identified `reuse’ options. This article proposes a ‘hierarchy of reuse options’ that plots the relative positions of identified ‘reuse’ options vis-à-vis five variables, namely work content, energy requirement, cost, performance and warranty. Recommendations are made on how to incentivise original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to ‘remanufacture’. Finally, an alternative ‘Type II Resource Effective Close-loop Model’ is suggested and a conceptual ‘Type II/2 Model of Resource Flows’ that is restricted to the use of environmentally benign and renewable resources is introduced. These suggestions are likely to help decision makers to prioritise between ‘reuse’ options, drive resource effectiveness and also environmental sustainability.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)995-1005
    Number of pages11
    JournalWaste Management & Research
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2016


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