Investigating a repair workshop: The reuse of washing machines in Barcelona
Talens Peiró, Laura; García Fernández, Beatriz; Gabarrell i Durany, Xavier
OPEN ACCESS at Sustainable Production and Consumption, Volume 29, January 2022, Pages 171-179 The reuse and repair of products are often good strategies from a holistic […]
The reuse and repair of products are often good strategies from a holistic resource conservation perspective. Many organizations active in reuse concentrate in cities where a greater share of wasted electrical and electronic equipment is generated. The number of companies active in the reuse of these products is still limited, and information about the procedures and, more importantly, about the equipment effectively reused is not publicly available yet in many cases. This leads to imprecise knowledge about reuse in these organizations and unreliable data about the progress to a circular economy in cities and regions. The release of new standards on material efficiency represents a big step towards the harmonization of methods and indicators to monitor reuse and repair of products, but its use is challenging for existing workshops. This study examines the reuse of washing machines (WMs) at a local workshop with the objective of understanding the internal procedures for repair and reuse and defining indicators suitable to monitor these activities. The assessment at the company level shows that in 2018, approximately 77% of the WMs collected were recycled, 10% were repaired (80% of these needed multiple parts) and 2% were refurbished. At the product level, the proportion of reused components varies greatly from 4% to 14% when calculated by number on products to 60% when considering number balance. An economic analysis shows that using spare parts from wasted WMs increases the economic benefits up to 3-fold. In conclusion, the indicators proposed are useful to understand the performance of these workshops and potentially useful to quantify reuse at the city and regional scales.