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Executive Order 12873

Executive Order 12873, the first "Buy Recycled" executive order, was signed by President Clinton on October 20, 1993. The purpose of order was to more effectively utilize the vast purchasing power of the government to procure products that are environmentally preferable. By acting "as an enlightened, environmentally conscious and concerned consumer," the federal government would be able to maximize recycling and encourage development of markets for environmentally friendly products which would benefit the economy and the environment.

In short, Executive Order 12783 required federal agencies to purchase products made from recycled content, including copy paper with 20 percent post-consumer (pc) content, when they were comparable to virgin counterparts in availability, performance and price.

Click here to see the full text of Executive Order 12873.

Compliance with E.O. 12873--A History

Federal agencies were slow to comply with the 1993 "Buy Recycled" order. After four years under the order, federal agencies were still not purchasing the mandated items. The following charts indicate past compliance achieved by federal agencies under E.O. 12873 for specified produts.

GPP's Reaction to Federal Non-Compliance

The Government Purchasing Project was involved in the movement to encourage compliance with E.O. 12873. The following are examples of GPP's reaction to federal government's non-compliance with E.O. 12873:

Follow-up Executive Order

In 1998, former President Clinton issued a follow-up executive order. Click here for Executive Order 13101.

The Government Purchasing Project is a project of the Center for Responsive Law.