Delivering a Service Model for Bulky Item Reuse

This research project was funded by the EPA under the Green Enterprise programme and ran from July 2018 to December 2019.

Bulky Waste - the problem

There are significant potential environmental and economic savings associated with increased reuse of bulky items. Over 1.2 million potentially reusable bulky items are going to landfill or incineration on the island of Ireland every year. Office furniture in particular is often replaced due to aesthetic and corporate reasons, on an entire office basis, rather than any loss of functionality.

Through reuse, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with both from upstream material management (55% and 65% of typical national emissions) and end of life management (3-4% of total emissions from the average OECD country) are avoided. In economic terms, the Irish government procures millions of euro worth of bulky items every year, giving an opportunity for the public sector to lead by example on this transition.  

Project Overview

While interest in reuse is increasing in some areas, State involvement in reuse or recycling of bulky items remains at a low level. Through this project, CRNI aimed to design value propositions and a viable business model to encourage State agencies (and eventually other private organisations) to donate unwanted bulky items for reuse or community recycling, where reuse is not possible.  

The project outcomes include:

  • report identifying of most viable models facilitating a way to engage public sector stakeholders
  • How to guide for bulky item reuse in the public sector


The key findings are:

  • Any effective reuse exchange platform must be flexible to allow all public sector bodies to address their requirements. Rather than developing one single national service / exchange platform for PSBs, this research proposes four different models that PSBs could adopt depending on their circumstances. These models have been elaborated in a separate guidance document that can be disseminated as a tool for PSBs contemplating and/or required to adopt reuse/exchange activities.
  • A strong policy driver is required to provide PSBs with the incentive to adopt these models and/or other reuse/exchange activities. This could be implemented through, for example, the Resource Efficiency Action Plans (REAPs)/ Climate Action Charters by mandating that PSBs embed reuse/exchange activities into organisational policy documents and procurement documents (supplier contracts and tenders).

Contact Us:

If you are interested in finding out more about this project, or wish to become involved, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

Contact Claire Downey via email: [email protected] or phone 087 173 5184

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