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New Westminster push to boost remanufacturing

The need for greater remanufacturing in the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) sector will form a key part of a Parliamentary inquiry examining the growth potential of the UK’s entire remanufacturing sector.

The inquiry, chaired by former Conservative environment secretary Caroline Spelman and Labour MP Barry Sheerman, is being jointly conducted by the all-party parliamentary groups for manufacturing (APMG) and for sustainable resource (APSRG).

Both MPs have issued a call for evidence for the follow-up to APSRG’s report from March 2014, Remanufacturing: Towards a Resource Efficient Economy.

The new inquiry will explore how best practice case studies in key sectors, such as the automotive industry, can be applied to those seen as under-performers, including WEEE. Current government policy in this area will be assessed, as will the adoption of remanufacturing processes into companies’ business models.

Spelman said the inquiry came at a critical time because the importance of remanufacturing in terms of both resource security and economic potential was not fully appreciated by Parliamentarians or UK industry.

“The future of manufacturing is inextricably linked to environmental sustainability, reducing the consumption of virgin raw materials and exploiting new areas of comparative advantage,” she said.

“We believe the Government must do more - firstly to better understand the huge environmental and economic potential that remanufacturing offers and, secondly, to create precisely the policy and regulatory framework needed in order for UK businesses to fully embrace it.”

Sheerman said they would be seeking answers to several questions:

  • What are the barriers to take up?
  • How can they be addressed at local, national and international levels?
  • What can the Government do?
  • What can manufacturers do?
  • What role can SMEs play in sparking small-scale innovation?

He added: “This inquiry is not about banging drums to prove the benefits of remanufacturing - the benefits are clear. This inquiry is about finding out what we need to do now and in the future to put a more resilient UK at the forefront of global remanufacturing innovation.”

Evidence can be submitted until 26 September and the inquiry will issue its final report before Christmas. It is expected to include recommendations to ministers to boost the uptake of remanufacturing.

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