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Region 9, EPA commitment to 100% recycled copy paper drives prices down

Raised hand with recycling logo overlayAs part of their integrated strategy under the Federal Green Challenge, Region 9 GSA and EPA Regional Administrators, Ruth Cox and Jared Blumenfeld, rallied 63 agency heads, representing more than 240,000 regional federal employees, to exceed Executive Order 13514's mandatory use of 30 percent recycled copy paper by using only 100 percent recycled, chlorine-free copy paper.

As a result of two virtual training campaigns held in January and April 2012, the demand for this product increased so much that prices fell to a low of $40.20 per box off the second generation Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative office supply Blanket Purchase Agreements (OS2 FSSI BPAs).

GSA is proud to continue its tradition of driving demand for green products. In 1991, when the first executive order mandating use of 30 percent recycled content paper was issued, that product did not exist commercially. When it was finally developed, its price was almost $150 per box. The mandate helped pave the way for GSA depots to stock the recycled paper and helped drive down the price per box dramatically. Today, it is a preferred product in many offices, demonstrating how the federal government serves as a catalyst for sustainable product adoption.

The Federal Green Challenge is a national initiative under the EPA challenging federal agencies throughout the country to lead by example in reducing the Federal Government's environmental impact. Federal offices or facilities start their participation by choosing a focus in waste, electronics, or purchasing. Members commit to a reduction goal of at least 5 percent per year in their two focus areas.

The Region 9 agencies identified the purchasing of 100 percent post-consumer recycled copy paper as the most immediate opportunity to work together to show shared environmental leadership. Several other promising opportunities for future shared leadership include advancing green meetings/videoconferencing, procuring electric vehicles/charging stations, and developing renewable energy projects including Power Purchasing Agreements.

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