Why It’s Important in a Circular Economy
We’re giving you a heads up on a new strategy that will incorporate the principles of the Circular Economy – a continuous, regenerative approach to designing and producing sustainable products that’s driving many businesses worldwide. One of its key pillars is remanufacturing, a process that promises to deliver both economic and environmental benefits for a sustainable future.
Remanufacturing is a closed loop process that returns a product or manufacturing component to “like new” performance level and appearance, complete with a similar extended warranty in place. Unlike reconditioning, refurbishing, repairing, reusing, or recycling (see glossary below), remanufacturing delivers full restoration of a product or component, with the added bonus of multiple product life cycles and incremental upgrades.
There are also economic and environmental benefits to remanufacturing. It’s a much more efficient and cost-effective process to remove a part for repair, service and upgrade and then re-attach it. There’s no cost to replace an entire press, machine or product or to recycle or dispose of it. And, this procedure uses far less energy (a ratio of 6:1) and emits less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than would occur by manufacturing a new component or machine.
Remanufacturing is currently being utilized by companies around the globe in technical and electronic products, engine components for the automotive and trucking industry, electrical equipment, medical devices, and others. For example, there is a case study on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation website highlighting Google’s use of circular economy practices, including the remanufacture of server components for its data centers.
As your communications print partner, EarthColor is committed to bringing you the benefits of remanufacturing along with opportunities for recycling and reuse up and down our sustainable supply chain. We are already doing it in fact, we’re already doing it when you factor in our sustainable paper and plastic products through our eco-engineering toolbox. Our EPA Smartway® carrier partners that deliver your products are another example of our commitment. Many of the major trucking companies in the U.S. and Canada keep their equipment updated with remanufactured components, such as high-pressure fuel pumps, diesel particulate filters, recirculation valves, and other items.
Watch our website for blogs on more sustainability topics. To learn more about our commitment to environmental issues and climate change action, you can order a copy of our award winning 2015-2016 Sustainability Report. If you’re interested in receiving a copy, y ou can get one here.
Circular Economy: A closed-loop system of production and commerce that is restorative and regenerative by design, and which aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times, distinguishing between technical and biological cycles.
Remanufacturing (“reman”): The process of returning a used product to at least its original performance with a warranty that is equivalent to or better than that of the newly manufactured product. (Source: remanufacturing.org.uk)
Reconditioning: The potential adjustment to the components of a product to bring it back to working condition, but not necessarily to completely “new” state.
Refurbishing: Adding an aesthetic improvement on a product to “look like new.”
Repairing: Fixing a faulty part(s) of a product to restore it to a useable condition, but with no particular guarantee on the product as a whole.
Reusing: The reuse of a product without any form of modification.
Recycling: Using parts (extracts) of a product and/or its raw material to produce a new product; such as PET from recycled water bottles or FSC® certified wood fiber and wheat-straw waste.