The government could make significant savings by selling off its computer equipment rather than disposing of it, a National Audit Office (NAO) report suggests.
At present the public sector tends to dispose of its information, communication and technology (ICT) equipment at the end of their functional lives, after an average of five years.
Selling them off after three years could generate "significant savings" by following practices in the commercial sector and disposing of equipment after only three years' use, the NAO says.
However this strategy is a complex one, the report warns. It says the government has a responsibility to the environment and must calculate the best value long-term solution in terms that are not purely monetary.
"Government needs to understand better the trade-offs between securing better immediate financial value and the wider environmental costs and benefits associated with the disposal of ICT equipment," NAO chief Sir John Bourn said.
He criticised the government for not giving enough thought to the issue, suggesting that reducing reliance on ICT equipment and giving away secondhand equipment to other sectors, like schools, are options which should be explored.
A spokesperson from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the government was considering its response to the report.