Value Retention is the new Recycling

While material recycling has been a priority for the past 25 years, we expect a shift toward policies for "Value Retention”. What does retaining the value of products and components mean?  It means the incentives to smash-up products to recycle materials will reduce; instead expect to see more incentives to extend the life of products and components.

To get a quick overview of what is driving this step change in policy take a look at our study for the EU on toner cartridges. Toner cartridges are already designed to be disassembled, refilled and put back on the market - even up to six or seven times. But this is not what happens in Europe. Instead many cartridges are collected to be smashed up for recycling... because there is a recycling target to meet. There are many other similar examples.

Our partners in the European Remanufacturing Council tell us that their businesses are already positioning for this new business environment. Take, for example, the European truck tyre industry, which is growing again by offering up to three tyre lives on one casing and resisting cheap but single-use only Chinese-made tyres. Which is why we have been participating in the G7 workshops on Product Value Retention. We participated at the first one in Brussels in January 2017, the latest one in Montreal in July 2018, and we will assist at the third and final one in Italy in 2019. It is why we have been active in the EllenMacArthurFoundation working on CE100 member projects on Value Retention, and why our own David Fitzsimons won a 'Highly Commended' award at World Economic Forum at Davos in 2018.

Do enjoy our briefing note on the G7 workshop: it's an informal perspective on a change that we think will shape business and policy over the next 25 years. We are proud of our part in developing and delivering the tier 1 European Ecolabel for the best products, and we are proud to be bringing together the best product value retention companies in our European Remanufacturing Council. And above all else we are proud to be working with companies, trade associations and policy makers that want to lead on creating a wealthy, high-skill and Circular Economy.

Katie Baker