Reuse means that a product or its component is used again for the same purpose for which it was originally conceived. For example, buying second-hand clothes from a flea market is reuse. Waste sorting for recycling is not reuse, but recycling of materials
Remanufacturing means that the products are refurbished so that the unusable product can be made functional again and reused in the same way as the original product. For example, broken electrical equipment can be sent to the seller for remanufacturing, where it is refurbished and resold.
Monitoring of reuse is being developed
Monitoring of reuse is only in its early stages, so reliable information on trends is not yet available. European Union Member States started reporting on reuse in 2022. Although initial monitoring only involves four product categories - textiles, furniture, electrical and electronic equipment and construction materials - it is ground-breaking.
In 2022, the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE examined the amounts of reuse in Finland for EU reporting. The survey was sent to operators in the sector, such as flea markets, recycling centres, online shops and construction material recyclers. Based on the report, textiles are the largest product group being reused in Finland.
SYKE also develops reporting on reuse and carries out related scientific research. The extent of reuse and the quantities of reused products are investigated by means of surveys aimed at businesses and citizens.
Reuse is a key part of the National Waste Plan prepared by the Ministry of the Environment, which includes both a plan for reducing the amount and harmfulness of waste and a waste management plan.
Tips for reuse in municipalities and companies
Find out if it is possible to purchase the necessary goods used instead of as new products. Does your organisation already have products that could be refurbished to avoid purchasing new products? Organise more efficient use of resources by sharing information on goods that have become unnecessary to different units.
Find out whether used goods that are not needed can be sold or handed over for reuse. There are different marketplaces for the resale of second-hand goods. Establish policies that make the resale of second-hand and still usable goods the primary operating method and only unusable goods become waste.
Invest in service and maintenance to maximize product life. Consider whether small flaws, such as small differences in furniture, is acceptable if it allows the use of old goods to continue.
Tell your customers or residents of your municipality why your organisation is investing in reuse. A good example inspires others to participate.
Offer your customers high-quality, serviceable, repairable and reused products or sustainable services. Organize product maintenance, repurchase and reuse.