The European Commission has launched a €1.5m (£1.1m) project to boost remanufacturing activities throughout Europe.
The European Remanufacturing Network (ERN) intends to encourage new businesses to take up remanufacturing, help existing remanufacturers improve their operations, improve competitiveness of remanufacturers domestically and internationally, and increase awareness.
Project director Nick Morley told MRW: “One of the things that is really lacking in remanufacturing is any information or knowledge about the sector.
“We are gathering baseline data to show how much remanufacturing takes place in Europe, how it varies between sectors and what barriers there are to prevent faster growth.
“The data will be made available to enable people to judge the significance of the sector.
“The project aims to help UK manufacturers with eco-design of products, which will assist remanufacturing.
“We are particularly interested in how we can change policies to enable more and better remanufacturing to take place.”
The project aims to develop a European Remanufacturing Council (ERC) to provide a unified voice for remanufacturers to European policymakers. Its shape and scope will be defined throughout the project with the aim to launch in 2016.
It will also arrange workshops in countries that demonstrated good growth potential for remanufacturing. Ideas from these will be shared through online learning materials.
UK sustainable research and consultancy firm Oakdene Hollins is leading the project, funded by the Horizon 2020 framework programme.
The project is managed by a consortium of experts including the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, Fraunhofer in Germany, Linköping University in Sweden, VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland, Grenoble INP in France and Delft University of Technology and Circle Economy in the Netherlands.
Last year, the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group produced a report suggesting that the value of remanufacturing activity in the UK could rise from the current estimated value of £2.4bn to £5.6bn, and proposed an overhaul of waste and product regulations to ease its development.
Remanufacturers can complete a market survey to join the network.