Program Expectations for State Agencies
Effective November 1, 1997 state agencies have been directed to purchase recycled paper meeting federal government standards. Individual agency paper reporting was eliminated largely because the Department of Administration can still track overall state usage through our contract vendors, and because reporting virgin paper purchase exceptions provides information that is more useful to recycling market development efforts. This approach will be successful only if agencies use the appropriate contract vendors. Remember that you must report exceptions to the buy recycled policy to DOA; if you are using state contracts, the contract vendor will report the exception for you.
All agencies are reminded that virtually all of their paper needs should be covered by mandatory contracts, by Waupun Central Warehouse, UW-Madison-Materials Distribution Services, DOA printing paper contract, and the Office Supplies contract.
Here is a brief summary of the procurement bulletins that you should be using for paper:
The Office Supply contract is for miscellaneous office supplies, including paper items (like file folders) that are not covered by state contract, or the occasional ream of paper. If you regularly buy colored copy paper, coordinate your purchases by ordering 10 reams of various colors, and use the state contract vendor of your choice. They will sell you a carton of assorted colors at the regular contract price, which is far, far cheaper.
As we continue to switch from virgin to recycled, here are some solutions to some frequently encountered problem areas:
Substitutions for virgin Neenah Avon White for printing, writing, and envelopes: Substitute Neenah Recycled Bright White.
For copy paper, bright colors: Use Wausau Astrobrights or Fraser Brights from the contract vendors.
For copy paper, pastel colors: Do not order from Office Depot as they do not carry recycled pastel colors. Order Wausau Exact from the contract vendor.
Christine Lazaneo (266-1153) handles the office supply contract with Office Depot, and Gail Endres (264-7658) manages the printing grade paper contract. All of these contracts are working smoothly, provide a very wide range of products, and offer some great pricing. Copies of these contracts are available online.
Next Steps -- Non-Paper
Agencies sometimes ask, "We’re already buying recycled paper for most things--so what are we supposed to do next?" Agencies are supposed to remember that recycled products are likely to be available for many common commodities, such as landscaping materials, and that you can often get information directly from your usual vendors.
Our law requires us to purchase recycled products if they are cost-competitive and of proven quality. With the exception of recycled tissue products, which have been winning competitive bids since long before the Recycling Law was enacted, relatively few products meet the requirements of the law. Products that are cost-competitive, such as retread tires, still have unresolved performance issues.
An agency must at least consider reasonable recycled product options--and "consider" means to think about whether or not a recycled product will suit agency needs, in terms of price, performance, competition issues. For recycling market development, learning why an agency didn’t pursue a recycled option is just as important as learning of product purchases.
Purchasing agents may be reluctant to buy a more expensive recycled product, especially with the latest budget crunch. Depending on your agency's organization, recycling procurement will probably require support and approval from the agency purchasing director. As usual with government procurement, the purchasing agent and printing manager should be assisting in policy choices by providing accurate information on purchasing options. Your agency needs to define who makes the policy on recycling related procurement.
Agency purchasing agents and printing managers are expected to understand their responsibilities under Act 335 (PDF document) and to recognize opportunities for specification revision and purchasing.