Remanufacturing is the future of office furniture: it’s not only cheaper than new, it’s greener and better too. But what is remanufacturing? Here’s what you need to know…


Remanufacturing means making something to its original specification, but using a combination of reused and repaired elements as well as new parts. It is already a key process in the building of products ranging from photocopiers to military vehicles – and it’s perfect for office furniture.

Remanufacturing is not the same as refurbishing. A refurbished piece of furniture has had something added or changed, such as the upholstery, while remanufactured office furniture is disassembled and rebuilt according to the original design.

So remanufactured items have exactly the same spec as new items. Which can lead to some confusion – which is why at Rype Office we use the terms “furniture from virgin resources” and “remanufactured office furniture”.

The photocopier industry was an early adopter of remanufacturing; if you have a photocopier by Ricoh, Fuji, Xerox and Kyocera, then the chances are you already have a remanufactured item in your office.

And in many important ways, remanufactured is actually better than new, particularly for office furniture. Here are five reasons why…


1. Remanufactured office furniture is more reliable than new

New items made from ‘virgin’ materials, regardless of factory testing, have not stood the test of time. Design flaws, structural defects and flaws in materials such as voids and microcracks, are difficult to identify during manufacturing. Once in operation these problems emerge and can require expensive replacement parts, or, worse, discarding of the whole item. By comparison, remanufactured office furniture has been stress-tested in actual office use, meaning any parts with structural flaws have filtered out long before it gets to us.

So remanufacturing has the edge in reliability. In fact, Caterpillar remanufactures engines for use by the UK armed forces – their reliability is so good that they are deployed in life-or-death conflict situations.


2. Remanufactured office furniture meets the needs and budget of the client

New items haven’t been built with you in mind. But remanufactured furniture can be tailored for your office. That’s not just colours and finishes; desks, for example, can be sized to maximise occupancy without impacting on user comfort. And at Rype Office we have a specially designed grading system allowing you to choose the quality that matches your particular needs and budget. We make the process of choosing the right furniture very easy.

Incorporating remanufacturing into a refit gives organisations huge flexibility. You can combine your existing furniture (remanufactured, of course), with externally sourced remanufactured pieces and new items to benefit from the latest trends like soft-furnished collaborative spaces (which can be so new that none are available for remanufacturing).


3. Remanufactured office furniture is cheaper than new, with no compromise on quality

Office furniture is perfect for remanufacturing because it uses very long life components – such as steel bases – which are expensive to make from virgin resources. These are checked, resurfaced and redeployed while the softer, less durable parts are replaced with new elements.

The result can be indistinguishable from new in appearance and performance, yet cost significantly less. Rype Office’s remanufactured furniture is typically half the cost of new, with no loss of quality. See more about why remanufacturing allows for such good cost savings in our post How to halve your office furniture bill.


4. Remanufactured office furniture is better for the environment

Circular economy and sustainability enthusiasts love remanufacturing for a very good reason: it provides enormous eco benefits. A Rype Office refit typically cuts environmental impact by two-thirds.

Remanufacturing your furniture can generate BREEAM and LEED credits for your office or building – and we can give our clients a free Sustainability Benefits Report to share with employees, customers and the world. Read more about the environmental benefits of remanufacturing here.

And on the subject of sharing – remanufactured products often have a provenance that makes them great talking points. For example, our client Public Health Wales’ office in Cardiff includes desks from the Bond movie Spectre.


5. Remanufacturing creates real social benefits at the local level

Remanufacturing requires disassembly and assembly, so it creates twice as many jobs as assembling from virgin materials. And these jobs have to be local, because it would make no economic sense to ship materials overseas to be remanufactured and then back again. What’s more, remanufacturing demands a range of skills and technical knowhow, requiring training and providing opportunities.

At Rype Office we like to generate social value. We source from social enterprises like the Merthyr Tydfil Institute for the Blind and Greenstream Flooring. For large projects we recruit disabled and long-term unemployed from local communities close to projects. Read more about the social value created by remanufacturing here.


At Rype Office we use remanufacturing and rational principles to make wonderful workspaces. We call it ‘the science of beautiful offices’. Contact us here to find out more about what we do.