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How remanufacturing is combating global warming

The concern of global heating and adverse climate change is by now well known. Arguably the most significant problem facing the planet today, the recent COP26 summit urged world nations to increase their commitments to a net-zero emissions plan by 2050.

As a major contributor to national emissions, the manufacturing industry has a significant role to play in implementing green strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While most people are intimately familiar with the concept of recycling, fewer are conversant with the importance of remanufacturing.

What exactly is remanufacturing?

In broad terms, remanufacturing is any process that takes a previously used product, or a non-functioning or broken product, and returns it to an ‘as new’ condition. This is achieved through actions of repair or replacement of component parts.

Many industrial sectors presently utilize remanufacturing to a certain degree. A move towards increasing the uptake of this option, rather than simply relying on disposing of ‘old’ product and replacing it new, can return significant rewards in reducing emissions and promoting sustainability.

Remanufacturing vs. recycling

There is a difference between remanufacturing and recycling, although they both fall within the broader concept of waste management. It could be said that recycling is a form of remanufacturing.

Many commercial operations are actively managing waste and recycling, and they find significant support for in-house processes via professional suppliers like recyclingbalers.com. The by-product of those processes is then typically recycled and ultimately returned to use – cardboard, paper products and plastics items are typical examples.

Remanufacturing differs in the sense that it is the repair or restoring of an existing product to return it to new condition. For example, a laptop computer may be refurbished by replacing component parts, rather than disposing of the broken unit and replacing it with a completely new unit.

What does remanufacturing achieve?

A range of benefits are realized through remanufacturing, several of which work in favor of reducing an organization’s carbon footprint and reducing emissions:

Energy saving: Remanufacturing, as opposed to producing completely new parts or products has been found to have a significant advantage in terms of the lower amount of power, or energy, that it requires. A saving of as much as 80% can be realized, making the process extremely energy efficient.

Sustainability: By conserving precious (and often expensive) raw materials, the act of repurposing parts and products can increase the life of many product lines and manufacturing processes.

Avoiding obsolescence: By extending product life, issues of obsolescence can be reduced, and the larger amount of energy and cost in creating new products is avoided.

Conclusion

Opportunities for remanufacturing exist across a broad range of industries, including automotive, aerospace, medical, electrical appliances and consumer product.

While many of these industries currently employ the concept of remanufacturing to a greater or lesser extent, there is scope for further gains to be made in this vital process.

With the increasing focus on the need for industry to optimize ‘green’ processes and reduce their emissions footprint, remanufacturing plays a significant role in the battle against global warming.

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