MPs call on Government to take urgent steps to improve UK remanufacturing sector
A cross-party group of MPs has published a report urging the Government to support the UK remanufacturing industry to help drive a circular economy.
Shadow Business Minister Iain Wright MP, Laura Sandys MP for South Thanet and former environment secretary Caroline Spelman MP, who are members of the All-Party Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group, formally launched the report today (26 March) at Portcullis House, Westminster.
It is entitled ‘Remanufacturing towards a resource efficient economy’ and has been published following a three-month inquiry chaired by Spelman.
The report defines the term remanufacturing as a “series of manufacturing steps acting on an end-of-life part or product in order to return it to like-new or better performance, with warranty to match”.
It advocates that the value of remanufacturing in the UK is currently £2.4bn and has the potential to increase to £5.6bn and create new jobs.
The research asserts that the UK is “failing to capitalise on huge potential economic and environmental advantages presented by improved remanufacturing standards and practices”.
The publication calls on Government to take urgent steps to improve UK remanufacturing, including the adoption of an agreed definition, the setting of key criteria for analysing remanufacturing potential across different UK industries and the establishment of a government fund to explore currently under-remanufactured industries.
It further calls for the removal of key regulatory barriers preventing remanufacturing uptake, including amendments to its guidance on the legal definition of waste to distinguish a product that is due to be remanufactured as being exempt from those products considered as waste.
At the launch, Spelman advocated that Government should recognise remanufacturing as a cross-departmental challenge and establish a cross-departmental committee, led by BIS and supported by Defra, to ensure there was a cross-departmental collaboration when considering this policy area.
Spelman also explained that the Government should set up a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for those products that have the most potential for remanufacturing in the UK, for example engines.
Spelman added: “The renaissance of British manufacturing has created an outstanding opportunity for remanufacturing in the UK. But the full potential has not yet nearly been realised. The Government must act now to ensure the UK does not lag further behind in the rapidly growing global remanufacturing industry.”
Laura Sandys advocated that the word waste should be forgotten and supported a ‘Re-made in Britain’ campaign. She also said that “waste from Defra should be moved to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills”.
Sandys also said that she worried that as the UK started to come out of austerity she worried that the economy may start replicating a 19th Century one based on wasting resources. In addition, she exclusively revealed that Baroness Scotland was due to release a report on waste shortly.
South Wales-based furniture manufacturer Orangebox NPD manager Gareth Banks also gave a speech at the report launch. He said his firm adopted a ‘Cradle-to-Cradle’ approach to move from a supply-based business model to a service-based one. He asserted how the firm develops chairs for closed loop systems in which all the materials are naturally biodegradable or can be fully recycled high quality products. He said a typical Orangebox chair contained 98% recyclable content.
Elsewhere, Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network knowledge transfer manager Ben Peace also spoke at the report launch.
He exclusively revealed to the audience, made up of resource industry stakeholders, that 15 Knowledge Transfer Networks (networks enabling the UK’s innovation communities to connect, collaborate and discover new opportunities) will be joining together as one. This includes networks such as biosciences, chemistry innovation and energy generation. This will mean that 60,000 members will be under one umbrella to share best practice.