HD26 - Ways to Increase the State Purchase of Recycled Products

Executive Summary:
The Department of General Services identified the need to know exactly what recycled items state agencies are currently purchasing, the amount and cost of purchased items and the level of satisfaction with these items. A survey was designed to secure this information and mailed to approximately two hundred state agencies. Seventy-five agencies responded.

DGS discovered that it is not currently possible to obtain this information. Because of the lack of standardized record keeping, each agency is keeping different kinds of information on their purchase of recycled materials.

Most agencies reported the purchase of some recycled paper and office products and were recycling office paper and other products. There is some dissatisfaction with the quality of recycled paper because of its poor performance in high speed copiers and laser printers. Agencies that did not report the purchase of recycled products cited the cost of the products or their poor performance as the main reasons for not using them.

Contact was made with other states and nationally known consultants by DGS to determine what they are doing in the area of purchasing recycled materials. We discovered many variances in the quality of programs and their organization. Meetings of the Virginia Recycling Markets Development Council were attended by DGS staff and discussions were held about the availability of products. A subcommittee was formed to continue investigating the issue.

Overall, recycled product availability and quality are improving. Pricing is becoming more competitive. In Virginia the price of copier paper has decreased by approximately fifteen per cent in the past year and over forty per cent since 1995.

DGS already provides recycled products, including a full line of recycled paper and a wide selection of office products, to state agencies and localities through state contract and the Virginia Distribution Center.