REMANUFACTURING AND HOW IT SAVES THE ENVIRONMENT

We commemorate World Environment Day today.

The planet has undergone many phases of destruction, contamination and pollution, resulting in the rise in CO2, leading to a drastic global warming. A change in mind set is imperative. The earth is sick. We as guardians of this planet, for the generations to come, need to be consciously committed towards conservation and to be innovative in how we can reuse, recycle and remanufacture what we have in hand before it is beyond our control.

¹Extracted from Wikipedia, remanufacturing is the rebuilding of a product to specifications of the original manufactured product using a combination of reused, repaired and new parts. It is a form of product recovery process that differs from other recovery processes in its completeness. A remanufactured machine should match the same as a new machine. In layman’s term, remanufacturing is overhauling or rebuilding of a product. It is a GREEN process – keeping hazardous products out of landfill for a much longer period.

Remanufacturing has been in place long before the word was coined. The automotive industry for example, where spare parts and components were a major focus of the remanufacturing activities. Likewise, with the IT industry.

It is a known fact and now practiced worldwide, that remanufacturing is a catalyst to a cleaner environment. A newly manufactured desktop computer and monitor uses an approximate 250kg of fossil fuel, 21.8 kg of chemicals and 1.5 tonnes of water (natural resources angle). IT equipment alone accounts for 9% of all energy consumed by businesses. This is the 3rd largest source of power for the commercial sector². Remanufacturing preserves much of the original product thus reducing the consumption of raw materials and CO2 emissions. Carbon footprint of a newly manufactured laptop/desktop emits 350kg CO2 and 800kg CO2 respectively³. Figuratively, 15 laptops generate as much CO2 of a mid-sized car. In 2019, Malaysia alone shipped in 2.34 million PCs!!

Remanufacturing also creates a large pool of opportunities especially for employment. As new machines are mainly manufactured overseas, it provides the local community, the industrial problem solving skill knowledge as opposed to production skill sets and the art of manufacturing processes. It is a process of dismantling, repairing, rebuilding, rigorous testing and inspection before it is rolled out to the customers. This then is an ideal way to train and re-skill new labour force in the industry. This is a holistic and a complete process, where customers’ expectation of a used product’s performance is the same as if it were brand new and to look like new as well. Warranties for remanufactured products may or may not differ from the original supplier thus reiterating that quality is not compromised⁴.

At the same time, the process of remanufacturing reduces cost benefitting the consumers. Typically, a remanufactured equipment is less than 50% the cost of new equipment. This saving is derived from the recovery of materials and energy consumption of the product. Besides the significant cost factor, remanufactured computers comes with support and services, giving you the assurance of low downtime.

Remanufacturing will be the “new norm” for many industries going forwards. Citizens of the earth are more educated and informed and are becoming more accountable towards environmental issues that is currently affecting the eco system and the climate.

Plants and animal species are facing extinction, pollution of our waters and land has increased. Habitats are lost due to mining of raw materials, landfills with toxic waste and the increase of the sea level due to global warming that is melting the ice sheets. Economy suffers as we are not able to reap the once available bounties of nature.

All in all, in essence, remanufacturing can help reverse the worsening effects of the eco-system and global warming.

References:
¹ Wikipedia : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remanufacturing
² Study : http://archive.unu.edu/update/archive/issue31_5.htm
³ https://i.dell.com/sites/content/corporate/corp-comm/en/Documents/dell-laptop-carbon-footprint-whitepaper.pdf
http://www.remanufacturing.org.uk/reasons-to-remanufacture.php

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