Circular Procurement is the process in which a product, service or project is purchased according to the principles of a circular economy. Social Procurement is an approach to purchasing products and services that takes into account the economic, environmental and social impact of an organisation’s buying choices

Public Procurement supporting Circular & Social Aims

Why: Green Public Procurement (GPP) is a core strand of driving sustainability, promoting resource efficiency, and progressing circular economy ambitions. Social procurement delivers broader social, cultural and environmental outcomes. The Irish Government’s annual purchasing accounts for 10 to 12% of GDP, which means circular and social public procurement can be used as a lever of State funds to deliver potentially significant carbon savings, resource efficiency and social good.

Policy and Guidance: GPP is high on the agenda of the Climate Action Plan, Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy and is recommended through Circular 20/2019: Promoting the use of Environmental and Social Considerations in Public Procurement. More guidance on green and social procurement guidance is available here.  

How: Public Procurers can help facilitate more circular and social procurement by getting a clear understanding of the needs of the organisation in the pre-tender phase, starting with a quick win, market engagement and dialogue, considering life cycle costing, taking measures to accommodate small scale suppliers (e.g. facilitate lots or consortium responses) and allowing for some flexibility in specifications. More lessons learned from a recent Interreg CircularPP Circular Procurement project are available here.

Sharing more case studies will also help build confidence and understanding of how it can be done and the benefits of greener, more circular and social procurement. Irish and European case studies are given below. 

We are so excited to announce that the NWCPO Circular and Social Office project won Green Procurement of the Year Award at the National Procurement Awards! 

Irish Case Study – NWCPO Circular & Social Offices

In 2019, the National Waste Collection Permit Office tendered for the delivery, assembly and installation of 100% reused and upcycled furniture for a new office space. This is the first public procurement project at scale to support Circular & Social objectives in Ireland. 

CRNI coordinated a consortium of members and other suppliers to deliver the 97 items of furniture, saving 2.6t carbon and supporting jobs and training in social enterprises. To find out more watch the Mywaste video across, read the infographic below or a full detailed report here.

For more information about reuse, repair and recycling goods and services for businesses and public bodies please visit our dedicated procurement directory here.

Find out More – Green Procurement Webinar

As part of the Limerick European Green Leaf 2020 webinar series, Limerick City and County Council ran an event on Green Public Procurement with the Rediscovery Centre. It provides an opportunity to learn about green procurement and the circular economy, while also giving businesses an insight into what is required under the green procurement process, so that they can tender for contracts.  Speakers were from the Office of Government Procurement, The National Academy for the Circular Economy, Darragh Lynch Architects, The National Waste Collection Permit Office/Rediscovery Centre, Community Reuse Network Ireland, Department of Environment, Climate & Communications and the Local Government Operational Procurement Centre.

Calculate your carbon savings from buying second hand

A recent study (here) on GHG emissions over the lifetime of a commercial building found that 30% of total emissions are associated with furniture. This is due to the replacement rate and the impacts up the supply chain of extraction, manufacturing and distribution of furniture.

Use the button across to calculate the carbon savings from putting reuse ahead of new

European Case Studies

Two recent Interreg projects have provided a range of exciting case studies showing how even large scale procurement projects can support and help build the reuse and repair sector.

Circular PP aimed to develop an adequate framework for circular procurement. Two case studies involving upcycled and second hand furniture include:

The lessons learned from on Cicular Procurement projects from this research are here.

ProCirc is set up to experiment, implement and learn how circular economy and procurement can benefit the region. The large database of circular procurement case studies here includes examples of furniture / office buildings, playgrounds, vending machines, buliding refurbishment and much more.

NWCPO Case Study – Infographic

NWCPO Case Study – Suppliers

10 x different suppliers including CRNI members Rediscovery Centre, Back2New, RecycleIT, FreeTrade and an ICSA member; furniture clearances at UCD and Henkel; 2nd hand Office furniture suppliers Griffin Office Solutions and Aline Office Furniture Ltd; and Adverts (private sale).

NWCPO Case Study – Project in Pictures

Rediscovery Centre staff cleaning and checking items for installation
100% upcycled or reused office furniture with recycled paint from Rediscovery Centre
Upcycled Rediscovery Centre wingback chairs and pallet table in reception
Back2New upcycled chairs and table, Rediscovery Centre pallet boxes, FreeTrade Ireland couch and Adverts rug
Before image of chlil out room
BoardRoom with upcycled table, reupholstered chairs, bespoke rosewood cabinets and recovered blue paint by Rediscovery Centre
Upcycled copper lamp in boardroom
Upcycled handles in kitchen by Rediscovery Centre
Upcycled chairs and tables in canteen by Back2New
Upcycled chairs and tables in canteen by Back2New
Project kick off planning meeting, 2 July 2019. CRNI Members Back2New Community Upcycling, The Rediscovery Centre, Irish Charity Shops Association and CRNI with Collaboration Ireland.
Roger from Rediscovery Centre with delivery of pallet coffee table
Maria from NWCPO with upcycled chair & coffee table from Rediscovery Centre
Collection of furniture donated by Henkel

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Our funders

EPA National Waste Prevention Programme

CRNI supports its members and works to mainstream reuse thanks to core funding provided by the EPA under the National Waste Prevention Programme.

For more information about the programme see here.

Project Funding

Pilot Northern Ireland Reuse and Repair Network

CRNI received funding from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and rural Affairs in 2020 to carry out a pilot establishing a reuse and repair network in Northern Ireland.

For more information about the project see here.

Circular Textiles

CRNI is leading an EPA Green Enterprise project Circular Textiles, which will test the impact of three different separate collection systems for textiles and explore how we could manage the additional quantity of textiles that are collected. This project will be concluded in 2022.

For more information about the project see here.