Fit for reuse

Creating comprehensive, up-to-date guidance to increase electrical repair and reuse

Alleviating poverty through electricals reuse

One of four winners of the 2020 Ecosurety Exploration Fund, the Fit for reuse project led by the Reuse Network helps to tackle the growing mountain of old or unused electricals being recycled or landfilled, providing more high-quality, repaired electrical goods to people that really need them. Unbelievably, comprehensive and accurate guidance to help reuse organisations be optimally run in a compliant and efficient manner is woefully out of date. This project has finally provided this industry-standard guidance to help close the loop on the linear life of EEE.

A growing problem

Between 2008 and 2020, over 16.7 million tonnes of household EEE were placed on the market in the UK, of which less than 40% has been collected for recycling. The increasing mountain of old or unused electrical equipment is at best recycled, often hoarded or at worst landfilled, when it could easily be repaired and reused. To compound the problem, the complexities and barriers to reuse continue to grow.

A lack of guidance

The last publication of guidance to enable organisations to safely and efficiently prepare used electrical and electronic equipment for reuse in a compliant manner was back in 2007.

Since then many relevant standards and regulations have been introduced, meaning that the need has never been greater for a cross-cutting reuse and repair specification - including product-specific requirements, service procedures and protocols, and published guidance - to help reuse operators meet the required standards and offer consistency and quality of practices.

A complex range of issues

The Reuse Network represents a system of Approved Reuse Centres and it identified that more support needed to be given for many of the complex factors that reuse organisations must navigate, including:

  • Meeting requirements of PAS141 and Cenelec EN50614
  • Reviewing reuse operations, training and procedural requirements
  • Testing equipment calibration
  • CE markings and OEM checks
  • Installation of appliances into service/homes
  • PAT and functionality testing
  • Traceability
  • Manual Handling
  • Consideration of the Product Safety Strategy 2018-20 by BEIS
  • Identifying equipment containing Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

PAT testing



Moving EEE up the waste hierarchy

Recycling is great, but going one step up the waste hierarchy to reuse is critically important. Ensuring that the lifespan of perfectly serviceable goods is extended is not only good for the environment, it brings many social benefits too. This project ensures that reuse organisations are professional and efficient and able to increase the social, economic and environmental impacts of reuse across the UK.

Social benefits

The Reuse Network believes that no one should be without a bed to sleep on, a cooker to cook on or a sofa to sit on. 

In 2019 alone, members of the Network repaired and reused approximately 400,000 units of electricals (65% large appliances, 10% TVs, 10% ICT, and 15% small domestic appliances and AV items) – this equated to over 17,000 tonnes of electrical equipment reused, saving 23,000 tonnes of CO2. Impressively, it also helped low income households save £43 million on electrical goods that they could not afford to buy new.

With this project now completed, that impressive impact will be amplified even further, for years to come.

washing machine repair

Widespread impact

Today there are over 100 reuse organisations that employ over 4,900 staff, supporting over 56,000 volunteers, trainees and people on work placements. The activity of reuse creates employment, training and volunteering opportunities for those most marginalised in our society, whether because someone is experiencing long-term unemployment, is an ex-offender, or they are experiencing mental health problems.

The impact of the new guidance will also extend far beyond reuse organisations. It is set to also benefit regulators, suppliers, manufacturers and producers, Local Authorities and in particular, the consumer of the reused items.



“Thanks to Ecosurety and the judging panel, this grant funding will allow us to review, update and republish this guidance to ensure ongoing compliance with recent regulatory updates and standards, and to future-proof and be ready for the impact of eco-design and circular economy policy measures when they are put into practice.” Craig Anderson Photo Craig Anderson CEO of Reuse Network

About the Reuse Network

The Reuse Network supports reuse charities across the UK to help them alleviate poverty, reduce waste and tackle climate change. They do this to reduce poverty by helping households in need to access furniture, white goods and other household items at affordable prices. In addition, the Reuse Network also supports re-use charities in providing training and work placement opportunities for people who are socially excluded from education, training and employment.
Visit the Reuse Network

Enabling tomorrow's solutions

The Fit for reuse project was funded by the Ecosurety Exploration Fund which is investing £1million in projects that aim to reduce the environmental impact of packaging, batteries or WEEE through innovation or research in the UK. The fund is the first such opportunity to be launched by a UK compliance scheme. It builds on Ecosurety’s experience in supporting innovative projects and new technologies across the waste and recycling sector.
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