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Recycling Procurement Program

Procurement Information Memorandum

Date Issued: November 1, 1999
Number: 99-057
Effective Dates: November 1, 1999 through November 1, 2000
Subject: Recycled Paper Purchases

  1. 1999 Wisconsin Act 9 repealed the Recycling Law requirement that directed DOA to report annual paper purchases for all state agencies. The statutory requirement to buy recycled paper has not changed. Based on the evaluation of annual reports prior to 1997, it is clear that agencies that are in compliance with the law purchase recycled paper for just about all of their needs.

  2. Due to changes in federal standards and in the paper market, buying 50% recycled paper had become increasingly difficult, costly, confusing, and time-consuming for state agencies by 1997. 1997 PIM number 97-057 was designed to satisfy the intent of the law, while simplifying reporting obligations and reducing costs. DOA structured statewide procedures so that state purchasing agents can again purchase paper through the competitive marketplace. In short, state agencies have to buy recycled paper, while but must keep track of exceptions to the rule. Based on the early success of this approach in 1997, 1998 PIM number 98-057 continued the policy, and PIM number 99-057 will do the same with only minor changes.

  3. Judging by vendor reports for the past two years, our “buy recycled only” policy is a great success: over 98% of the paper purchased by state agencies is now recycled.

  4. All agencies will continue to purchase recycled paper meeting the federal minimum content guidelines, provided the guidelines are consistent with the marketplace. In general, this means buying paper with a recycled content of 10 to 30 percent postconsumer content. As a result of Clinton Executive Order 12873, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a Paper Products Recovered Material Advisory Notice, or Paper Products RMAN, on May 29, 1996 that lists recommended recycled content for a full range of paper products. Several categories were changed by RMAN II on June 8, 1998. Unfortunately, since RMAN I is out-of-date, and RMAN II is incomplete by itself, bid language references must include both RMAN I and RMAN II. A single combined list (Federal RMAN Guidelines for Paper Products) is attached to this PIM and is available through VendorNet.

  5. Purchasing virgin paper is no longer an option. DOA will review compliance trends through vendor reports. Compliance by individual agencies will be subject to the usual DOA audit trail.

  6. Exceptions to the “buy recycled only” policy must be documented by each agency and are to be retained in agency files for 3 years. Contract vendors will report exceptions to Bureau contract administrators for all statewide contract purchasing; and agencies will record exceptions encountered in non-contract purchasing. Due to the much greater availability of high quality recycled paper meeting the federal standards, exceptions are expected to be rare for most agencies. (Remember that current law does not recognize higher cost as an acceptable rationale for not buying recycled paper.) Exceptions should be documented and filed as they happen, unless other arrangements need to be made for vendors and high-volume purchasers.

  7. Exception reports may be as brief as possible, but must include:

    Type or description of paper product: ________________

    Virgin brand used instead: _________________________

    The reason that recycled paper cannot be purchased:

    ________ not available

    ________ performance

    ________ cost (justifiable only if recycled is more that 15% higher than virgin)

    ________ other:

    Purchase price: _____________________

    Agency contact name: ______________________

    Agency: ___________________________

    Phone: ____________________________

    If different than agency contact, provide name, company, and phone number for person submitting the exception report:

    Additional comments:

    CLICK HERE for Sample Report.

  8. Recycling Procurement Section PRO-D-19 will be substantially revised based on the results achieved by following the procedures outlined in this PIM.

  9. Recommended language for bids that cover a variety of paper: Recycled paper shall meet the definitions and minimum content recommendations in the federal Paper Products RMAN (61 FR 26985/EPA530-Z-96-005), issued May 29, 1996, as amended by RMAN II (63 FR 31214) June 8, 1998.

    If your bid is for a specific grade of paper, such as envelopes, or if you must require a recycled content that is different from the RMAN recommendations, then start the same way but state the actual percentage: Recycled paper shall meet the definitions and minimum content recommendations in the federal Paper Products RMAN (61 FR 26985/EPA530-Z-96-005), issued May 29, 1996, as amended by RMAN II (63 FR 31214), June 8, 1998. The minimum content for this bid shall be 30% postconsumer recovered materials.

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