Civil Service to get up to 60,000 ‘previously used’ laptops to boost recycling

Office of Government Procurement scheme worth €30m permits purchase of ‘remanufactured’ laptops to cut costs and carbon emissions

Minister of State for eGovernment Ossian Smyth and Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe: The €30 million contract 'fully supports the circular economy objectives set out in the Green Public Procurement Strategy and Action Plan 2024-2027'. Photograph: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

As many as 60,000 “remanufactured” previously used laptops will be sourced for civil servants over the next four years under a €30 million spending plan.

The environmental initiative by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) will allow public bodies to buy laptops under a purchasing framework designed to cut costs and carbon emmissions.

The Government said the overhauled used laptops are “subject to rigorous manufacturing and testing standards, and devices supplied under the new framework come with up to three years of warranty”.

It pointed to a scientific study by Cranfield University which found “significant environmental benefits to choosing remanufactured devices over newly manufactured devices”.

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The benefits include the prevention of approximately 316kg of CO2 emissions per laptop and the saving of 190,000 litres of water in the manufacturing process.

In addition, approximately 1,200kg of Earth’s resources are not required to be mined, refined or consumed.

The cost of the laptops is, on average, 30 per cent lower than the newly manufactured equivalent, according to the Government.

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Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe said the initiative supported the Government’s ambitions “to transition to a low-carbon society”.

“This is the first such framework to be established by a central purchasing body in the EU and offers significant environmental benefits, including carbon reduction and resource and water savings as well as value for money.”

Minister of State with responsibility for public procurement Ossian Smyth said: “The public sector now has a way to buy remanufactured laptops from a trusted source, saving money and avoiding waste.

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“This is a change from previous rules that advised always to buy new products. I’m delighted to see this progress.”

The plans are part of Government’s efforts to encourage the “circular economy” which is aimed at reducing waste.

The Government said the contract has an estimated value of up to €30 million and it “fully supports the circular economy objectives set out in the Green Public Procurement Strategy and Action Plan 2024-2027.”

In the region of 60,000 laptops can be procured up to the €30 million value of the framework over its four-year term.

This equates to a reduction of 19 million kilograms of CO2, 72 million kilograms of mined resource preservation and 11 billion litres of water not used, the Government statement said.

The contract allows for varied configurations and specifications for the laptops, depending on the requirement of the purchaser.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times