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Techbuyer helps review the ANSI Remanufacturing Standard

Astrid Wynne, Sustainability Lead Apr 01, 2021

The first consensus body meeting for the American National Standards Institute Remanufacturing Standard took place on the 24th of March. It is an important step in the US because this is the only national standard that applies for remanufacturing, but it has wider implications too. It provides a benchmark for the process of remanufacturing and establishes specifications that can be adopted in other areas of the world too. This is especially important because remanufacturing is a relatively new concept to many public and private bodies.

The Remanufacturing Industries Council (RIC), the body driving establishing this standard, defines remanufacturing as “a comprehensive and rigorous industrial process by which a previously sold, leased, used, worn, or non-functional product or part is returned to a “like-new” or “better-than new” condition, from both a quality and performance perspective, through a controlled, reproducible, and sustainable process.” What that means to the market is that it can obtain high quality second-user equipment at a reduced price and have confidence it has been properly processed, packaged, and given the right kind of warranty.

Governments around the world are introducing circular economy policies and packages and there is a growing awareness of how important the practice is. Bodies like ANSI support this by enabling the market to adopt more remade products with confidence.

The role of the RIC

The RIC is leading on the review and has recruited a consensus body to help with this. Some on the body are RIC members, as Techbuyer is. Others come from outside the organisation – users of remanufactured products, for example, interested parties such as academics as well producers of remanufactured goods. There are almost 40 organisations represented in the meetings, which look to improve on a relatively niche but growing subsector that cuts across many 11 industries from restaurant equipment to IT hardware. The revisions are open to public commentary before submission to ANSI.

One of the interesting things about the consensus body is the wide range of perspectives this brings together. It encompasses large companies in the heavy machining industry to electronic marketplaces specialising in renewed goods through to refurbishment specialists like ourselves. A growing number of companies are recognising that our planet cannot survive continual depletion of natural resources and a growing tide of waste. Alongside this, customers are recognising that security of the supply chain is an added benefit of remanufactured goods alongside cost and performance.

Growing importance of secondary supply chains

In the summer of last year, we released a blog talking about the increased demand and confidence in remanufactured IT hardware during the European lockdown. Demand for IT hardware was far in excess of supply, which had been experiencing challenges even as far back as 2019 but was further restricted in Q1 2020. We saw an 85% increase in new customers in March – July 2020 compared to the previous four months. 94% of those buying refurbished had very high confidence in buying again.

Looking at recent headlines, we can see the same principles played out elsewhere in the market. In 2021, large car makers, Apple and Samsung all released warnings about production slowing as a result of semi-conductor shortages. This was blamed on unexpected increased demand because of the pandemic. However, given the number of rare materials in IT equipment, this could be the beginning of a much larger problem with the supply of new. Some of the materials present – tantalum, silver, lithium, gallium and indium – were predicted to run out within decades even before there was increased demand. Even before the European lockdowns, there had been similar challenges in the supply in the CPU market for servers.

Other members of the secondary market in our sector are releasing good news stories about the previous 12 months, which demonstrates that increased interest in remanufactured goods has been more widespread than just our experience. A survey conducted in July last year suggested that new customers buying secondary market goods were open to making that choice again. Respondents also said they would be more confident in trying other remanufactured goods too.

With everything that is happening in the market at the moment, there seems to be a real opportunity for positive choices that make the best use of resource. Supporting and helping an American National Standard that supports this can only be a good thing.

The consensus body is still open to applications. If you are interested, you can submit an application on RIC’s website. If you have any questions, you can contact Michelle Hayes, RIC’s Business Manager at