Overview of office containing printers

Sustainability blog

Why we remanufacture

Bodil Nordin
Bodil Nordin

Sustainability Group

Why we remanufacture

If everyone in the world consumed resources at the rate of an average EU resident, we would need 2.8 planets to sustain everyone each year. 
For the earth to survive, we have to think more about reusing and recycling resources. More and more companies have realised this and started to create new products out of the old. Sure, it sounds promising, but only if people want to buy them. 
It is not news that humanity needs to be better at reusing resources. This is something that contractors in the public sector across Europe have tried to advocate. For example, when purchasing printers, it is a common requirement that once the new machines have reached their expiry date, they are resold. 

printer being remanufactured

Why we manufacture

I am pleased this is the case but think there are more options available to the public sector organisations to help them on their sustainability journey. 

Despite a large push in the public sector toward stronger environmental procurement policies, in many cases, this includes a reluctance, or even prevention, from buying remanufactured products themselves. This may be due to a lack of knowledge about the quality of remanufactured printers and their environmental benefits or they have purchasing criteria that actively prevents them from buying remanufactured products. Their usual purchasing criteria consists of brand-new machines, with guarantees, quality stamps and a reduced environmental impact compared to their old machines. 

Whose responsibility is it to make the required change and remove barriers? Is it up to governments to set stronger targets about purchasing remanufactured products to meet circularity targets? Is it up to us as the supplier to prove the benefits and quality of our remanufactured machines or is it up to the customers to make the move by changing their procurement policies? I propose it’s up to us all! 

 printer being remanufactured

So, how does it work in reality?

Our bestselling models are collected from across Europe and sent to Canon’s dedicated remanufacturing facility at Giessen, Germany. They are then checked to ensure suitability for the remanufacturing.

From here they are stripped down to the bare frame and every component is thoroughly cleaned, checked for quality and if necessary, repaired or replaced.

The machine is then reassembled on a standard factory production line, using a combination of existing and new parts. Hard drives are erased and reformatted and the machine is upgraded with the latest firmware. The counters are set to zero, the machine is assigned a new serial number. Another key output is that each remanufactured machine is given a brand-new warranty that is the same standard as the warranties offer for new machines, showing the confidence we have in the machines. 

"During the past 5 years, Canon has reused 15,000 tonnes of parts directly, and a further 19,000 tonnes of plastic in various initiatives, which reduces resource use and environmental impact."

The results? 

Canon has a long history of investing in the circular economy and have printers that support this strategy. The process I describe above is used to refurbish our EQ80s, a leading multi-functional printer, and results in a reduction in the use of raw materials by 80% when compared to a like-for-like new model. 
During the past 5 years, Canon has reused 15,000 tonnes of parts directly, and a further 19,000 tonnes of plastic in various initiatives, which reduces resource use and environmental impact.
This work has helped in our environmental impact reduction which has been consistently declining since 2008. Emissions per product have decreased by 35.9% over the entire product lifecycle. 

Another tactic in supporting the circular economy

Another key way of reducing our use of resources is to make products smaller, lighter and more efficient. 
For example, we have reduced the volume of one of our printer models by 44%, the weight by 29% and packaging by 31%. We can do even more but we need our buyer’s help to drive the development of new products. 
Some of our public sector customers have realised the potential in remanufactured products but to we need more to follow suit and look forward to working and supporting those who want to come on this journey with us.