Supporting Remanufacturing — the backbone of the Circular Economy.


The first ever Circular Economy week kicked off on Monday in London and, while London Waste and Recycling Board were pushing the topic in the capital, academics from all over the world were at Exeter University to discuss the most pressing research areas for the topic. The event was launched by Andrew Morlet from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and break out sessions touched on a wide range of topics from circular economy business models to skills needed for future leaders studying MBAs.

The European Remanufacturing Council led a panel discussion where, along with insight from industry on current projects, Owain Griffiths released the 10 research topics which have been put together with input from the great and the good working on remanufacturing. Members of the Council, politicians, policy makers, academics and experts helped to put together the key themes, which are designed to encourage collaboration between industry and research institutes:

  • EV battery remanufacturing policy barriers and best practices
  • Trade barriers and solutions globally.
  • Remanufacturing liability.
  • Environmental impact comparison: to remanufacture, or not?
  • Additive manufacturing remanufacturing.
  • Blockchain for remanufacturing.
  • Legal definitions of ‘waste’ and other remanufacturing terms.
  • Best practice take-back schemes.
  • Market assessment of remanufacturing certification marks.
  • Skills for remanufacturing.

The Council's vision is to grow the remanufacturing sector across the EU from €30bn to €100bn by 2030; some of these topics look at addressing barriers while others aim to further understand innovation opportunities. Universities from across Europe have all shown interest in engaging with members to support research in these areas, and consortia-building is already underway.

Remanufacturing plays a crucial part within the circular economy. It helps companies retain valuable materials and can reduce the cost of an as-good-as new product by 40%. Too often the circular economy is considered a fancy term for recycling when actually it is a much more comprehensive solution to resource utilisation and value creation and retention. A report being launched by the UN EP International Resource Panel in the latter part of 2018 is going to support the need for greater consideration of remanufacturing possibilities ahead of recycling.

If you are engaged in or considering remanufacturing or would like to discuss the research topics, please email

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Circular economy and remanufacturing in Europe