09 Aug 2022

'Pioneering and innovative' Offaly based project wins prestigious national award

A prestigious national award has recognised a pioneering and innovative project that equipped the new offices of the National Waste Collection Permit Office (NWCPO) in Tullamore with up-cycled furniture.

The NWCPO, a shared service hosted by Offaly County Council on behalf of all local authorities and situated on Cormac Street, won the ‘Best Green Procurement Project of the Year’ at the National Procurement Awards 2020.

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In a gala online ceremony on Wednesday last, compered by Irish and Sunday Independent columnist and Dragons Den host, Richard Curran, the NWCPO came tops in a very competitive category that also included nominees, the Education Procurement Service, ESB Procurement, Perigo, Ervia and Translink Fleet Procurement.

Announcing the NWCPO as the winner of the ‘Best Green Procurement Project of the Year’, the panel of judges recognised the project – the first of its kind in Ireland – for demonstrating that up-cycling at a commercial level was achievable and for its contribution to the Circular and Social Economy. Over 2.6 tonnes of carbon were saved by sourcing second-hand furniture over new, the equivalent of planting 180 evergreen trees.

The project was co-ordinated by Maria Brennan Foynes, Staff Officer (NWCPO) and Claire Downey, Executive at Community Reuse Network Ireland (CRNI), Free Trade. Furniture and other items, including some bespoke pieces, were sourced, up-cycled, supplied and fitted by Rediscovery Centre, Back2New and Recycle IT and Freetrade Ireland amongst others – all social enterprises that provide jobs and training for people from marginalised groups or in long-term unemployment.

Speaking after the ceremony, Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, Cllr John Carroll said, “I would like to congratulate the NWCPO and Offaly County Council on this fantastic achievement. It is a great honour for the local authority. The project’s success is a clear demonstration of the positive impact we all can have, environmentally, socially and for the local economy.”

Anna Marie Delaney, Chief Executive of Offaly County Council said, “The NWCPO and Offaly County Council are delighted and honoured to be awarded ‘Best Green Procurement Project of the Year’ at the National Procurement Awards 2020. The Circular Economy and the promotion of environmental and social awareness is an integral part of Offaly County Council’s role as a local authority. I am mindful of our Climate Adaption Strategy and the role we all can play in mitigating the causes of Climate Change and using positive impacts to promote more sustainable lifestyles.”

Maria Brennan Foynes, Staff Officer, said the project had delivered a unique working environment for NWCPO management and staff.

“The NWCPO were delighted to be part of this project which demonstrated that upcycling at a commercial level can be achieved along with creating a unique working environment,” Maria said.

“This is something that NWCPO Programme Manager Leo Duffy always felt could be successfully done and when the opportunity arose to fit out our new offices he decided that this was the right time. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to work on this worthy initiative and I hope that the NWCPO’s Circular and Social Procurement Project can be replicated in other areas of both the public and private sectors,” she added.

Claire Downey, Executive at Community Reuse Network Ireland (CRNI) said, "CRNI is so proud to have played a role in delivering this project alongside our members Rediscovery Centre, Back2New, RecycleIT and FreeTrade. As Green Procurement and the Circular Economy are both high on the Government agenda, it is more important than ever that these kinds of projects are showcased through events like the National Procurement Awards and then replicated." 

The National Waste Collection Permit Office (NWCPO) is the nominated authority for the administration of the National Waste Collection Permitting System. The NWCPO, an office of Offaly County Council, carries out this work on behalf of all local authorities.

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