The Furniture Industry Research Association

The centre of knowledge for the furniture industry

News Article

Research Report - Remanufacturing for the Circular Economy

The Circular Economy has emerged as an alternative economic model, offering improved resilience and enabling growth in an uncertain future, by removing or reducing the reliance on the extraction and input of raw materials. In direct contrast to the prevailing ‘take-make-consume-dispose’ model, the Circular Economy model advocates a restorative and regenerative approach to the use of raw materials, thereby promoting and facilitating the conservation of finite natural resources and eradicating waste.

UK and EU policy

Political agendas are shifting towards circularity, with UK Government commitment to a ‘Zero Waste Economy’ and the European Commission identifying furniture as a priority target in the Circular Economy Directive. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) calculates that UK businesses could benefit by up to £23 billion per year through low cost or no cost improvements in the efficient use of resources. Growing calls to progress new and extensive measures as part of the European Commission’s ‘Circular Economy package’ could see the introduction of a raft of waste reduction and resource efficiency ordinance including extended producer responsibility (EPR) requirements.

In recognition of these issues, the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) has embarked on a programme of work based on the outcomes from the Circular Economy scoping study carried out towards the end of 2015. Six projects, all centred on this theme, are one of the Association’s areas of focus over the next two years:

  1. Creating a Furniture Resource Exchange Platform
  2. Establishing a Circular Economy Task Force within the UK Furniture Industry
  3. Completing Resource Hotspot Analysis for Furniture Products
  4. Exploring the potential of Remanufactured vs. Brand New Furniture
  5. Writing a Reuse & Remanufacturing Standard
  6. Establishing a Product Stewardship Framework and EPR scheme

A report summarising the findings of Project 4, which compares the potential of remanufactured furniture versus brand new product, carried out in collaboration with Orangebox is available to FIRA Members, who can login and download the report here