IT started with the simple idea of saving laptops from landfill, but now a Portsmouth firm is the largest of its kind in the world.
Circular Computing, based in the Railway Triangle, Hilsea, was set up by Rod Neale, his wife Sue and Conrad Mohr two years ago.
They wanted to take their expertise to the next level and instead of just refurbishing computers, they wanted to completely remanufacture them – bringing them up to a new standard.
The laptops are stripped back, with tiny details like the feet and paintwork painstakingly restored.
Their idea was based on the circular economy business model and it saves companies millions of pounds in IT procurement costs while reducing climate change, preserving natural resources and reducing pollution.
Conrad said: ‘A refurbishment takes 10 minutes and it is not a skilled job. Remanufacturing is an industrial process where it is brought up to new. To all intents and purposes it is the same as new. People do not need the latest and greatest anymore.’
He said that since 2012, computer performance levels have plateaued - with just a three per cent improvement.
Every year more than 160m laptops are made worldwide, while 160,000 laptops are disposed of every day in the EU. Conrad said 70 per cent of discarded laptops could be reused.
‘They are perfectly good to have a second life,’ he said.
The company is remanufacturing 200,000 laptops per year and for each laptop it remanufactures, it also plants five trees, offsetting the carbon footprint for three years.
The firm has seen rapid growth and it invested £2.5m into the world’s first purpose-built computer remanufacturing facility in the UAE which employs 200 people. The Portsmouth base also employs 50 people and the firm also has offices in America.
Circular Computing has signed up big name clients including schools, universities and football clubs.