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Design for reemploy and reuse, reparability

Reemploy, reuse and reparability


As part of WEEE regulation, reuse (or reemploy) has the meaning of Directive 2005/32/EC:

« Reuse means any operation by which an energy consuming product or its components, having reached the end of their first use, are used for the same purposes for which they were designed, including the continued use of an EuP [Energy using Poduct] energy reported to a collection point, distributor, recycler or manufacturer, as well as reuse of an EuP following refurbishment. »

However, Ordinance No. 2010-1579 of 17 December 2010 whose main purpose is the transposition of the Waste Framework Directive of 19 November 2008 defines and distinguishes for the first time the terms of remploy and reuse:

  • The reemploy is « any operation by which substances, materials or products that are not waste are used again for the same purpose for which they had been
    designed »
  • The reuse is « any operation by which substances, materials or products that have become waste are used again ».
  • Preparation for reuse, the first mode of waste treatment in the hierarchy defined, consists of « any operation control, cleaning or repair to the recovering by which substances, materials and products that have become waste are prepared so as to be reused without further pre-treatment ».

Thereby, actors of the reuse sector are actors of the repair sector.

Reparability is defined by the ability and ease of a product to be repaired during its life cycle. There is no universal means to assess the reparability of a product. However, we can assess the reparability of a product according to several criteria:

– Time to repair / reconditioning of the product,

– Percentage of product that can be repaired / replaced,

– Cost of spares / product cost,

– Number of tools needed to repair the product,

– Etc …

Stakeholders of reuse and reemploy

The area of reuse and reemploy is dominated by three main networks in France:


  • Emmaus
  • Envie
  • Réseau des Ressourceries

Nevertheless, independent actors at the local level are important. In total, accordig to ADEME there are 1619 actors with 1812 facilities (places of gift, sale, or both).

Reemploy and reuse activities of goods have three environmental and social objectives:

  • The waste recovery (environmental issue),
  • The employment of persons in difficulty (social issue),
  • The resale of these goods at low prices (social issue).

Stakeholders of repair

In a broader sense, the repair sector includes all companies, merchants and artisans whose main activity is the repair of the goods in order to prolong their lifespan. In 2009, we have estimate at 13,111 the number of companies of repair of electrical, electronical devices and computer equipments in France (ADEME – 2010). However, this figure has decreased by 22% since 2006.

Reuse, reemploy and reparability issues

Environmental aspects

The main challenge of reemploy, reuse and repair is primarily to significantly reduce the amount of waste produced. Indeed, reemploy, reuse and repair of good (or a part) avoids the consumption of raw materials and energy used in its production, but also delay the treatment at the end life (crushing, sorting, recycling).

User point of view

From the user point of view, reemploy and reuse provides access to a product with the same functionality as a new one but at a lower price. In the case where the user is refurbishing a product unusable by itself or by requesting service, doing so will prolong the lifespan of his product while generating financial savings, raw materials and energy.

Producer point of view

The issues of reemploy, reuse and reparability are not negligible for producers of electrical and electronic equipment, by offering products with a longer lifespan (by the possibility of repair), it is possible to stand out from other similar products.

A product having reparability higher than an average product reduces fears about the reliability and quality of products have come through the reemploy and reuse system. These concerns are the main impediment to reemploy and reuse (ADEME – 2010). Finally, the marketing of products having a longer lifespan improves branding of the company by increasing the perception of quality and reliability by the user.

Improvement opportunities

The table below provides some ideas to improve the reuse, reemploy and repair of EEE.

Encountered difficultiesImpacts for reuse, reemploy and reperabilityEco design opportunities
Technological obsolescence of the product.The product is incompatible with current technologies.Allow updating of products (e.g. computers).
Ensure backward compatibility of products.
Aesthetics obsolescence of the product.The user leaves a product in working order.Adopt a neutral design that does not encourage user to leave a product still functional.
Use materials insensitive to scratches, which remain constant over time.
Spare parts are unavailable or difficult to acquire.The products can not be repair.Ensure availability of spare parts even after stopping the sale of the product.
Incompatibility of the parts/components from a model (or a manufacturer) to another.Need to have a stock of spare parts suitable for various models.Standardize parts and common components (e.g. charger, cables, etc.).
The cost of spare parts is greater than the value of the product.Repairing the product is no longer economical.Change in economic approach: adopting a model based on the service economy, repairing a product becomes more interesting as the provision of a new product to the user.
Defective parts are difficult to access, or fastened so that they become unremovable (e.g. batteries bonding).The repair time is important.Facilitate access to parts which might be replaced during the life of the product.
The increasing complexity of products requires a higher skill level to repair some products.
The disassembly of products different or specific tools.
The repair time is important and it needs the full range of special tools to the disassembly.Reduce the number of fasteners and diversity of fastening systems in a same product.
Use standard fasteners.
The lifespan of some components is lower than the overall lifespan of the product.A product can be discarded, if only one faulty component is not replaceable.Calculate components so that they have a lifespan homogeneous with that of the product.
Else permit replacement of weakest components.
The products from reuse and reemploy are not always guaranteed.Users are hindered by the lack of guarantee for these products.ADEME suggests to set up a label for reuse / reemploy that would guarantee a certain level of quality (or hygiene) on a product resulting from the reuse and reemploy.
Presence of personal data (phone, computer).Users are not insured to bring their devices for reuse or recycling by fear that their personal data being disclosed.Permit rapid and irreversible erasure of all personal data that may be on a product. The reemploy / reuse label could guarantee it.
Lack of visibility of reuse and recycling networks.The products of these industries are difficult to find by buyers.Communicate to users on the possibility of reuse and reemploy of their products at end of life. The existence and the location of structures for reuse and reemploy.


– Study: « French people and reuse of worn products », ADEME – 2010

– Study: « Update of the overview of the offer of repair in France », ADEME 2010

– Ordinance n°2010-1579 of 17 december 2010

Updated on novembre 27, 2016

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