Circular economy disruptions: past, present and future

The extracts from Exeter University’s International Symposium on the circular economy in June 2018 (‘Circular Economy disruptions, past, present and future’) have just been published.  They feature the panel discussion led by the European Remanufacturing Council, at which Rachel Waugh and Owain Griffiths from Oakdene Hollins aired the 10 research topics that members of the Council, politicians, policy makers, academics and experts helped to put together, and which are designed to encourage collaboration between industry and research institutes:

  • EV battery remanufacturing policy barriers and best practice
  • 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.

Some of the above topics look at addressing barriers to remanufacturing, while others aim to further understand the innovation opportunities that will help the European Remanufacturing Council to grow the remanufacturing sector across the EU from €30bn to €100bn by 2030. Universities from across Europe have all shown interest in engaging with Council members to support research in these areas, and consortia-building is already underway.

Remanufacturing is a crucial part of the circular economy: it helps companies retain valuable materials and can reduce the cost of an as-good-as new product by 40%. A report by the UN EP International Resource Panel, due later this year, will 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

Katie Baker