20 November 2000

Recycled copier paper forms trial procurement project for government

The purchase of recycled paper and a 40% paper recycling/recovery target for government departments were confirmed today as part of the greening government agenda. And, more details were released about the contract trials for procurement of recycled copier paper.

The report says that sustainable development is now the main goal for greening both government operations and policy making and a Whitehall-wide checklist has been developed for integrating sustainable development into all government activities.

The report gives several examples of progress and targets including:

– Waste management: a new target of recycling and recovering 40% of total office waste is being implemented across Government this year;

– Procurement: all timber and timber products are to be bought from
sustainable and legally logged sources. All departments are to purchase
recycled paper as part of a government-wide pilot to help stimulate the
market. Guidance will be circulated on the most energy efficient electrical
products and the least polluting vehicles. The next step will be for Green
Ministers to set cross-government targets with minimum standards for all
purchases of these products;

Launching the report at a conference in London, environment minister Michael Meacher said: “The report reflects the greater emphasis Green Ministers have given this year to integrating sustainable development into policy making. Our impacts through policies are obviously much greater than those from our own operations. But the Government has to continue to set a good example in how it manages its estate if we are to have credibility when we call on business to do the same.”


Green ministers have agreed that paper recycling schemes should be in existence in all departmental offices with over 50 staff by April 1 2001.
On the procurement side, The Buying Agency (TBA), part of the Office for Government Commerce, is leading and is concentrating initially on recycled paper. TBA and the DETR are helping the Department of Social Security to develop a contract for all government departments to use for the supply of recycled copier paper.

The report adds that “a similar project has been completed on a collaborative basis with DETR, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the DTI, the National Westminster Bank (which other departments can use) for recycled paper for printed publications.”

This project is backed by Prime Minister Tony Blair, the report states. If the copier paper scheme is successful, it is expected to lead to a much wider scheme for obligatory purchasing of designated recycling products, within the overall aim of “achieving value for money”.

The main aims of the procurement work are:
– to increase demand for recycled products;
– to raise awareness of recycled alternatives, sending a strong signal they can be of satisfactory quality
– and to provide greater security in markets where suppliers wish to invest in new reprocessing capacity, re-manufacturer or production of goods with a recycled content.

Copies of “Greening Government: Second Annual Report of the Green Ministers Committee” is available from: Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, DETR Free Literature, PO Box 236, Wetherby LS23 7NB.


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