Status of end-of-life electronic product remanufacturing in China

Tan, Quanyin and Zeng, Xianlai and Ijomah, Winifred and Zheng, Lixia and Li, Jinhui (2014) Status of end-of-life electronic product remanufacturing in China. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 18 (4). pp. 577-587. ISSN 1530-9290

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Abstract

Remanufacturing is an industrial process of returning used or worn-out products to an “as-new” functional state with an equal warranty to newly manufactured equivalents. In recent years, remanufacturing has become an emerging research area, a direction toward which China's economic development is tending as well. As the world's fastest-growing solid waste stream, the handling of end-of-life (EOL) electronic products has drawn global concern, and China is no exception. Although it is currently at a preliminary development stage, the remanufacturing of EOL electronic products is rapidly developing, supported by relevant policies. There is a critical need for properly structured management systems, especially when it comes to regulations and standards applicable to EOL electronic products—both at the stage of remanufacturing processes and end products. The status of EOL electronic product remanufacturing in China is reviewed from three perspectives: (1) policies, regulations, and standards; (2) research; and (3) industry. The scope for remanufactured electronic products hereby analyzed mainly covers the following products: cartridge; copier; and information technology (IT) servers. For these, there is an urgent development need of methods and/or tools enabling a standardized remanufacturability assessment. Consumers’ willingness to buy remanufactured products could also be promoted through the improvement and dissemination of knowledge and know-hows related to remanufacturing. The rapid advances in technology and products, and the falling prices of electronic products, could result in an adverse impact on remanufacturing.