"Re-use" and "Repair" are important aspects of the Circular Economy, high up in the "Waste Hierarchy", representing more efficient use of resources than recycling or energy recovery. Refurbishing and re-selling used electronic goods is one example of the way the life of consumer goods is extended in the Circular Economy by recovering, repairing and re-using already-used products.
A recent study, highlighted in the EU's Science for Environment Policy newsletter (PDF), identified reasons why some consumers prefer new products while others are happy to buy refurbished mobile phones. The researchers also made a number of recommendations on how to increase consumer uptake of refurbished products:
"They say manufacturers should build a product based on designs that facilitate easy refurbishment. To attract consumers, refurbished phones should be promoted and readily available in both physical and online outlets. To convince consumers of the merits of refurbishment, information about the refurbishment process, including the financial, functional and environmental aspects, should be readily available. Finally, the researchers say warranties, quality labels and independent reviews of refurbished phones could help to counter consumer worries over quality."
Are there examples around Europe of these approaches being put into practice?