The Consumer Project on Technology NEWS RELEASE

Government Purchasing Project NEWS RELEASE



Contact: Todd Paglia, Government Purchasing Project 202.387.8030

General Services Administration to Buy Only Recycled Paper

Washington, DC -- The General Services Administration has decided to end its long criticized policy of purchasing virgin copier paper for resale to federal agencies, a practice which impeded compliance with President Clinton's Buy Recycled Executive Order (#12873). The decision to sell only recycled paper will have a tremendous impact on the government's compliance with the Buy Recycled order. More importantly, it will stimulate the market for recycled paper and decrease the government's harm to the environment.

"GSA's decision to buy only recycled copier paper is a long overdue but welcome policy. This represents an important step toward delivering on the promise of the Buy Recycled order issued in 1993," said Todd Paglia, Coordinator of the Government Purchasing Project. "Taxpayer dollars should be used to buy products that have fewer negative impacts on the environment. That is what GSA has done by purchasing only recycled copier paper," said Paglia. "GSA's decision to stop buying virgin paper means that all 18 billion sheets of copier paper bought for resale to the federal agencies will be recycled," said Paglia.

Government Purchasing Power is Often Ignored

"The federal government must act decisively to affect the environmental repercussions of its own purchasing practices, and GSA's decision is among the first signs that the Clinton Administration is willing to do so. By bringing the full weight of the government's purchasing power to bear, the Clinton Administration can reduce the burden it puts on the environment and stimulate markets for environmentally preferable products," said Paglia. "Effective use of this vast market power can also increase the availability and decrease the price of these green goods in the broader marketplace," said Paglia.

Beyond Paper

"GSA and the Clinton Administration must now move beyond paper and make similar purchasing decisions on other environmentally preferable products. Re-refined motor oil, recycled carpet, and recycled printer and copier cartridges, to name just a few items, should be used by all federal agencies," said Paglia. "The government must be more willing to buy green products across the board as GSA has done on copier paper. To do otherwise is to ignore the important policy tool represented by government purchasing," said Paglia.