Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
 

ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY BOARD

 

Post Office Box 1190

Fort Collins, Colorado  80522-1190

 

TO:                  Board of County Commissioners

 

FROM:             Ray Herrmann, Chair

 

DATE:              June 15, 2004

 

SUBJECT:        Buying Recycled Paper for Larimer County Offices

 

As Larimer County looks for ways to improve its recycling center operations and increase the success and efficiency of recycling, it appears that one important aspect has been overlooked: buying recycled paper for use in county offices.

 

The federal government, as well as some state and local governments across the nation, have procurement procedures in place that require purchases of recycled materials. Considering that the county owns a recycling processing center, and that for recycling to be effective, we must “close the loop” by buying products made from recycled materials, it seems especially pertinent that the county promote the use of recycled materials. The Environmental Advisory Board believes that it is time for Larimer County to step forward and require that its departments also purchase recycled paper that is made from at least 30% post-consumer recycled content for use in daily operations.

 

We are aware of potential obstacles to this recommendation. Kathryn Rowe, the county’s purchasing manager, has stated that while county policy encourages the purchase of recycled paper, it does not require it. Ms. Rowe also explained that even if the Board of County Commissioners mandated the purchase of recycled paper, elected officials and their respective departments do not have to follow BCC mandates. In addition, recycled paper can be more expensive than paper made from virgin materials when purchased in small quantities.

 

For these reasons, the EAB strongly recommends that the BCC put into place a county-wide purchasing opportunity such that bulk purchases can be made to achieve the discounts necessary to buy recycled paper at a better price and save money, something that would help in these times of tight budgets. Although we have not been able to estimate the potential savings because we do not know the volumes involved, we are aware that Office Depot sells recycled paper under contract for roughly half the price of virgin paper. Boise Cascade offers high quality recycled paper at an even better price.

 

Thank you for considering this recommendation that we hope will not only save the county money, but also show that Larimer County can proudly practice what the Solid Waste Department preaches to its citizens.

 

 

cc: Frank Lancaster

cc: Kathryn Rowe

BCC Response

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Background Image: Rocky Mountain National Park by Sue Burke. All rights reserved.