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Recycled Paper sign-on letter

  Distributed to TAP-RESOURCES, a free Internet Distribution List
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  (please distribute freely)
  September 30, 1996
  	Several years ago, President Bill Clinton signed an executive 
  order directing the government to buy recycled paper.  Concern over the 	
  implementation and oversight of this order led the Government Purchasing 
  Project to draft a letter to the president.  This letter, shown below, 
  urges the president to take action to ensure compliance with the "Buy 
  Recycled" executive order.
  	The Government Purchasing Project is seeking organizations (no 
  individuals) who would like to sign this letter.  If your organization 
  wishes to sign, contact Alicia Culver (see below).  The deadline for 
  signatures is October 7.  Do not send endorsements by replying to this 
  e-mail message.
  					Arthur Clark
  *	*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*	*
  From: Alicia Culver <aculver@essential.org>
  Subject: Recycled Paper sign-on letter
  Government Purchasing Project, PO Box 19367, Washington, DC 20036; Tel:
  202-387-8030; Fax: 202-234-5176; E-mail: aculver@essential.org
  President William Clinton
  The White House
  1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
  Washington, DC 20500
  Dear President Clinton:
  We are writing to urge you to direct the U.S. General Services
  Administration (GSA) and the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) to stop
  selling to federal agencies copier paper that does not comply with your
  "Buy Recycled" Executive Order (EO).  It is an unnecessary practice that
  violates the intent and letter of your EO, is confusing to federal
  purchasers, is penalizing recycled paper companies, and is dampening the
  demand for recycled paper and consequently discouraging communities from
  expanding their recycling programs.
  Only 19 percent of the paper purchased by federal agencies through the GSA
  and GPO in 1995 complied with EO #12873, Federal Acquisition, Recycling and
  Waste Prevention, according to the Office of the Federal Environmental
  Executive (OFFE).  This EO requires that all printing and writing paper
  contain a minimum of 20 percent post-consumer recycled fiber as of December
  31, 1994, increasing to 30 percent as of December 31, 1998.  GSA and GPO
  should make a commitment to end the sale of virgin copier paper as soon as
  its existing stocks are depleted.  Moreover, federal agencies should only
  procure paper products that fail to comply with the EO when recycled paper
  is not available, affordable or of acceptable quality.
  We are focusing on recycled copier paper because it represents a large
  portion of the paper procured by the federal government and is one product
  line in which federal agencies are offered a choice between buying virgin
  or recycled.  Copier paper represents about 28 percent or approximately $74
  million out of GSA's total paper product sales of $260 million.
  GSA's and GPO's decision to sell copier paper that fails to comply with
  this Executive Order means that the federal government is turning its back
  on those companies that have invested in technology to de-ink and recycle
  paper collected from businesses, homes and government buildings.  It comes
  at a time when there is a slump in the recycled paper market that is
  causing some communities to decide against expanding their collection
  programs to include various grades of mixed paper.  In addition, this
  practice is causing a tremendous amount of confusion among federal agency
  personnel who "assume the copier paper that they purchase from GSA
  automatically meets the minimum requirements of post-consumer content
  specified in the Executive Order; when in fact it may not," according to a
  letter by the OFFE dated June 25, 1996.
  Finally, the federal government's decision to sell copier paper that does
  not meet the minimum recycled content standards of the EO is particularly
  egregious since there are no longer any price, quality or availability
  issues surrounding the use of recycled copier paper.  According to a survey
  conducted by the Government Purchasing Project and Green Seal (two
  nonprofit organizations) the paper industry currently has the capacity to
  supply the federal government with enough 20 percent post-consumer recycled
  copier paper to meet 100 percent of its demand.  In addition, the price and
  quality of recycled-content copier paper is now comparable to that of
  non-recycled paper.
  GSA's primary argument against phasing out the sale of virgin copier paper
  is that federal agencies will start procuring their paper from private
  office supply stores.  This could be avoided by designating GSA and GPO as
  mandatory sources for these items or by penalizing federal agencies that
  continue to use non-recycled paper.
  We agree with you that "the federal government should lead by example."
  Unfortunately, in this case the federal government is not in the forefront.
  Twenty of the 27 states surveyed by the Government Purchasing Project sell
  a higher percentage of recycled copier paper than the federal government
  does, and several states offer only recycled copier paper to state agencies
  through their central purchasing divisions.  The states that sell only
  recycled copier paper have not experienced difficulties finding recycled
  paper products that meet their needs or a loss of sales.  In fact, several
  states reported that the transition to selling only recycled copier paper
  was often beneficial because it enabled them to purchase recycled copier
  paper at a lower price due to economies of scale.
  We strongly urge you to take immediate action to ensure that GSA, GPO and
  other federal agencies comply with your Executive Order in order to
  "strengthen the role of the Federal Government as an enlightened,
  environmentally conscious and concerned consumer" as the EO states.
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