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Recycling Procurement Program

Statutory Provisions of the Recycling Law

Origination Date: March 26, 1996
Revision Date: October 27, 1999

1989 Wisconsin Act 335

1989 Wisconsin Act 335 targets five main areas of recycling-related procurement:

  • the purchase of recycled products,
  • the purchase of products with reduced waste,
  • the purchase of products that can be recycled,
  • the choice of durable, multiple use products, and
  • the use of life-cycle costing.

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Specification Revision

Act 335 relies to a large extent on the writing of specifications to achieve recycling related purchasing goals.

[s. 16.72 (2) (e), Stats.] In writing the specifications under this subsection, the department and any other designated purchasing agent under s. 16.71 (1) shall incorporate requirements for the purchase of products made from recycled materials and recovered materials if their use is technically and economically feasible. Each authority, in writing specifications for purchasing by the authority, shall incorporate requirements for the purchase of products made from recycled materials and recovered materials if their use is technically and economically feasible. The specifications shall include requirements for the purchase of the following materials:
  1. Paper and paper products.
  2. Plastic and plastic products.
  3. Glass and glass products.
  4. Motor oil and lubricants.
  5. Construction materials, including insulating materials.
  6. Furnishings, including rugs, carpets and furniture.
  7. Highway equipment, including signs, signposts, reflectors, guard rails, lane dividers and barricades.

By nonstatutory provision (Section 82) specification revision in the priority categories was to have been completed by January 1, 1991. All other specification revisions were to have been completed by May 1, 1992.

In addition to writing specifications for recycled products, specifications are to take into account the ultimate disposition of products, product durability, and waste reduction.

[s. 16.72 (2) (f), Stats.] In writing specifications under this subsection, the department, any other designated purchasing agent under s. 16.71 (1) and each authority shall incorporate requirements relating to the recyclability and ultimate disposition of products and, wherever possible, shall write the specification so as to minimize the amount of solid waste generated by the state, consistent with the priorities established under s. 159.05 (12). All specifications under this subsection shall discourage the purchase of single-use, disposable products and require, whenever practical, the purchase of multiple-use, durable products.

The procurement and use of commodities consistent with the state's waste management priorities mean favoring source reduction and product reuse over recycling or disposal by landfilling or incineration:

[s. 159.05 (12), Stats.] That in the management of solid waste, whenever possible and practical, the state encourages the following priorities:
  1. The reduction of the amount of solid waste generated.
  2. The reuse of solid waste.
  3. The recycling of solid waste.
  4. The composting of solid waste.
  5. The recovery of energy from solid waste.
  6. The burning of solid waste.

Specifications for more durable, multiple-use goods are likely to be accomplished through life-cycle costing:

[s. 16.75 (1m), Stats.] The department shall award each order or contract for materials, supplies or equipment on the basis of life cycle cost estimates, whenever such action is appropriate. Each authority shall award each order or contract for materials, supplies or equipment on the basis of life cycle cost estimates, whenever such action is appropriate. The terms, conditions and evaluation criteria to be applied shall be incorporated in the solicitation of bids or proposals. The life cycle cost formula may include, but is not limited to, the applicable costs of energy efficiency, acquisition and conversion, money, transportation, warehousing and distribution, training, operations and maintenance and disposition or resale.

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Purchasing Selections

In addition to writing specifications, agencies are expected to purchase recycled products:

[s.16.75 (8) (a), Stats.] 1. The department, any other designated purchasing agent under s. 16.71 (1), any agency making purchases under s. 16.74 and each authority shall, to the extent practicable, make purchasing selections using specifications developed under s. 16.72 (2) (e) to maximize the purchase of materials utilizing recycled materials and recovered materials.

2. Each agency and authority shall ensure that the average recycled or recovered content of all paper purchased by the agency or authority measured as a proportion, by weight, of the fiber content of paper products purchased in a calendar year, is not less than the following:

  1. By 1991, 10% of all purchased paper.
  2. By 1993, 25% of all purchased paper.
  3. By 1995, 40% of all purchased paper.

Calculating recycled fiber content by weight means that the recycled percentage is multiplied by the weight of paper purchased. So recycled fiber content by weight can be calculated for each paper purchase if the recycled content and weight are known. Act 335 requires an average fiber content for all paper purchases.

Under s. 16.75 (9), Stats., "The department, any other designated purchasing agents under s. 16.71 (1), any agency making purchases under s. 16.74 and any authority shall, to the extent practicable, make purchasing selections using specifications prepared under s. 16.72 (2) (f)."

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Reporting Requirements

Reporting requirements were eliminated on the 1999 budget bill. By administrative procedure, DOA has directed all state agencies to buy recycled paper for all of their needs. See Procurement Information Memorandum 97-057 for more information on buying recycled paper.

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Recommended Specification Format

This section describes the legal basis for writing combined design and performance specifications, and recommends a standard specification format. As defined in DOA Administrative Code (Adm 7.03):

Specifications shall include all of the following:
  1. Concise language clearly identifying the desired product;
  2. Basis for award to the lowest responsible bidder;
  3. Performance criteria that do not unnecessarily limit competition, but that do clearly define the need to be filled.

Concise product description, method of award, and performance criteria are the minimum elements necessary for submitting recycling-related specifications. The Bureau realizes that many agencies prefer using an expedient "name-brand bid" to writing well-researched specifications. Name brands may also be specified when items that are purchased for resale depend to some extent on customer preferences. However, the preference for a particular name brand usually has resulted from long term demonstration of quality. New, alternative recycled products are untried commodities, even if established major corporations are marketing them. The need for basic specifications may even be greater than usual, since if you do not specify quality and performance, you are relying completely on the ability of a business to develop and market a new product line.

For reasons described below, an abbreviated version of the standard format promoted by the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) is the preferred method for reporting revised specifications.

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Product Description

The standard NIGP specification format is used in most standards, such as those by ASTM. The standard NIGP format has the following elements:

  1. Scope and classification
  2. Applicable publications
  3. Requirements
  4. Sampling, inspection, and test procedures
  5. Preparation and delivery
  6. Notes

The NIGP format is ideal for clearly stating the specifications and testing methods that are used to develop a Qualified Products List. Product testing can be useful both when comparing recycled product alternatives to established product lines as well as evaluating completely new items.

This approach provides:

  1. Clear statement of physical design specifications;
  2. Referenced standards;
  3. Method of testing new products;
  4. Strong basis for a Qualified Products List;
  5. Consistent location for packaging specifications.

By using the NIGP format, purchasing agents can specify a generic design and performance specification, and prescribe a method of testing that results in qualified name brands. As described in your training manual, "The Wisconsin Purchasing Process," this standard format is just as suitable for recycled products as it is for non-recycled. Purchasing agents who are familiar with this style of writing specifications should have little difficulty using it for recycled products.

Additional benefits of using the standard format include the ability to check references and compare our specifications to those written by other states and the federal government. The ability to join other states in procurement is addressed by Act 335:

[s. 16.73 (4) (a), Stats.] When it is in the best interest of the state and consistent with competitive purchasing practices, the department may enter into agreements with purchasing agents of any other state or the federal government under which any of the parties may agree to participate in, administer, sponsor or conduct purchasing of materials, supplies, equipment, permanent personal property, miscellaneous capital or contractual services....

[s. 16.73 (4) (b), Stats.] The department may cooperate with purchasing agents and other interested parties of any other state or the federal government to develop uniform purchasing specifications under s. 16.72 (2) on a regional or national level to facilitate cooperative interstate purchasing transactions.

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Method of Award

The procurement of recycled products will probably require creative contracting, since recycled products often cost more than the non-recycled counterparts. Either bid the recycled product separately or, if combined on one bid form, in separate lots or categories. Bidders may be asked to bid a product or service with or without a recycled component so that the purchasing agent has the option of choosing the recycled alternative if economically feasible. These bid options are standard procedure for commodities that are best purchased from several vendors and for situations where it is important that agencies have a choice of vendors. In any event, statement of the method of award is a vital part of the specification.

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Product Performance

Product performance is either clearly expressed or implied for each legislated recycling-related procurement aspect of Act 335:

  1. Recycled products are to be purchased if their use is technically and economically feasible.
  2. The amount of solid waste generated is to be minimized.
  3. Durable, multiple-use products are to be favored over single-use, disposable products.
  4. Life-cycle cost analysis includes operating and maintenance costs.

Both design and performance criteria are essential to recycling-related specifications. Because many recycled products are new and untried, qualification of products will aid the competitive bidding process and speed agency acceptance.

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