Reuse and Preparing for reuse

Re-using means to use an item again after it has been used, for its original or for similar purposes, without significantly changing  its physical status. European legislation defines reuse as ‘any operation by which products or components that are not waste are used again for the same purpose for which they were conceived’ (Dir 2008/98/EC).

Re-using is different from recycling, because recycling involves operations that change the physical status of an item. Reusing is preferable to recycling since it usually allows for saving of energy and natural resources. This is way the reuse is at the top of waste hierarchy, just after prevention.

Waste is not to be destined to use or reuse. Therefore reusing involves goods and materials before they become waste and fully falls within the waste prevention category.

In the European waste hierarchy prevention (which includes the reuse) is at the top, followed by preparation for reuse, recycling and the other forms of recovery. Disposal lays at the bottom of the waste management hierarchy.

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Preparing for reuse means ‘checking, cleaning or repairing recovery operations, by which products or components of products that have become waste are prepared so that they can be re-used without any other pre-processing.‘(Directive 2008/98/EC)

This applies for instance to furniture, objects, books, clothes, electric and electronic devises, which may be prepared (by means of repairing or refurbishing operations) to be reintroduced in the market.

To increase the preparation for reuse operations on goods discarded as waste makes it possible to achieve significant  performances from the environmental, social and economical points of view.

Reused items are available on the market for the consumers as used goods (second hand goods). The reuse supply chain involves a number of different operators, such as hawkers, flea markets, social cooperatives, antique shops, charity shops, third party shops.

The reuse of goods and of waste (after the preparation for reuse) is a focus theme of the European policy on waste (COM (2005) 666 final) and of the European strategy for the efficient management of natural resources (COM (2011) 21 final).

 

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