Remanufactured vs Refurbished Laptops: Unveiling the Sustainable Champion


The ever-growing mountain of electronic waste (e-waste) looms large.  Discarded laptops pile up daily, straining our environment and depleting precious resources.  With a growing focus on sustainable IT practices, a crucial debate emerges: remanufactured vs refurbished laptops – which reigns supreme?

Both processes aim to restore a laptop’s functionality, but their approaches diverge significantly.  Let’s delve into the details and compare each option.

Refurbished: A Second Chance, But Can You Trust it?

The first question that must be asked here is ‘What type of refurbishment is happening?’. Refurbishment can vary from cleaning and repackaging through to repainting, reprinting, replacement of faulty or cosmetically damaged components and thorough testing. Both offer a cost-effective alternative, but generally in this market, quality and consistency can be unreliable. Grading systems resellers use can be subjective, leaving you unsure of the laptop’s true condition.

Testing procedures for refurbished laptops can also vary considerably and deliver a level of risk that is unpalatable.  Some may only undergo a basic power-on test, leaving hidden issues as a potential blow. Refurbished laptops may provide a higher Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) rate, meaning a greater chance of needing repairs after purchase.

Remanufactured: Redefined Performance, Certified Victories

Remanufacturing takes a more comprehensive approach.  Each laptop undergoes a rigorous, 5 hour + process.  Components are meticulously inspected, and anything not meeting stringent quality standards gets replaced with brand-new parts. This ensures consistency across large volumes.

Here’s where Circular Computing stands as a pioneer in remanufactured laptops. Circular Computing holds the prestigious BSI Kitemark for Remanufactured Laptops, the first and only one in the world. This prestigious certification signifies that our remanufactured products are “equal to or better than new” – a definitive statement against the “second chance” label of refurbished laptops.

To read more and in full detail about this achievement, visit Circular Computing is given the world’s first BSI Kitemark™ for Remanufactured Laptops – Circular Computing™.

Rod Neale, Founder of Circular Computing said: “Being awarded the first Kitemark for remanufactured laptops is an achievement which will go down in the IT industry history. This is a recognised identifier which shows that we can take sustainable IT into the future without compromising on quality; meaning a better outcome for people, profit and planet.”

At Circular Computing, we conduct exhaustive testing and quality control checks. Our rigorous process includes:

Comprehensive Testing: Exhaustive testing is key to the remanufactured champion’s secret weapon. 

5+ Hour Remanufacturing: Each laptop undergoes a thorough 5+ hour Circular Remanufacturing Process. 

360-Point Quality Check: A meticulous 360-point quality check ensures every detail meets high standards. 

Unrivalled Quality and Consistency: Our process delivers unmatched quality and consistency you can depend on. 

Lower RMA Rate: This rigorous approach results in significantly lower Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) rates. We are currently running at less than 3% (based on a 12-month rolling average of remanufactured laptops sold with a minimum of 12-month warranty). 

Peace of Mind: Our dedication to quality gives you confidence in our products. 

The Remanufactured Knockout: Sustainability Wins the Fight

The first thing to acknowledge is that anything that significantly extends the lifetime of a laptop is more sustainable than buying a new one. The production of new laptops devours vast quantities of raw materials, many of which are finite or becoming increasingly scarce. You can view a blog post on this topic here: Raw Materials In A Laptop – Circular Computing™.

The second thing to acknowledge is that it is hard to give exact metrics as to the varying ‘sustainability-ness’ of different approaches. The thing that matters most for this equation is ‘How long has the life of that laptop been prolonged?’.

However, it is hard to not include two other factors when looking at the use of these laptops for businesses or organisations.

Cosmetic Quality: How they look cosmetically is important. If they clearly look ‘non-new’ then the employee may either complain or see this as how they are viewed.

Consistency and Performance: The ‘variable’ risk comes at a considerable cost. If there is extreme variation in how the laptops look or perform this creates considerable issues.

It is the consistency and the high certification standard for remanufacturing that delivers the knockout blow. Then the measurable impact of this significant laptop life extension can come into its own. By choosing remanufactured laptops, the organisation’s environmental impact is significantly reduced.  For instance, a single Circular Computing remanufactured laptop translates to:

CO2 Emissions Reduction: A reduction of 316kg of CO2 emissions.

Water Savings: A saving of 190,000 litres of water.

Earth Preservation: Prevention of mining 1,200kg of earth.

The Remanufactured Legacy: Sustainable IT for a Greener Future

A prime example of a forward-thinking organisation embracing remanufactured laptops is the BSI Group, the very organisation behind the BSI Kitemark.  Following the awarding of the Kitemark to Circular Computing, BSI themselves transitioned to remanufactured laptops. You can view more on this story here: BSI elect to use Circular Computing remanufactured laptops after Kitemark Award.

The verdict is clear: remanufactured reigns supreme in the fight for a greener tomorrow. Mark Jolly, Director of Manufacturing at Cranfield University, states: “We have to use less stuff. Remanufacturing is key and a really, really strong method of extending the useful life of our products, and thus the materials in our products, so we that don’t actually have to use as much stuff.” For more insights, you can watch the full interview here: “Remanufacturing is the Key To Using Less…” Says Professor at Cranfield University – Circular Computing™.

As sustainability climbs the corporate agenda, remanufactured laptops are poised to play a pivotal role. By making this informed choice, businesses can contribute to a more sustainable future for all.

Because IT shouldn’t cost the Earth.

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For an overview, full specification and pricing, please download our  catalogue of our core remanufactured laptop models.