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News Release


Release No: 179-97
April 17, 1997


In recognition of Earth Day, the Department of Defense announced today that it will fill all paper orders with recycled content copier paper as long as the price is lower than previously unused paper. The policy is effective immediately.

The Defense Department purchases over 65 percent of all paper bought by the federal government. Using recycled paper reduces consumption of water and electricity, saves trees and helps protect air and water quality.

Making the switch to copier paper with recycled content is an important part of meeting our environmental commitments because we use more paper than any other agency. With this one act, we are able to realize substantial environmental savings. The Defense Department is fully committed to integrating environmental considerations into all aspects of our operations, said Secretary of Defense William Cohen.

Prior to this policy change, 18 percent of all paper purchased by the federal government was recycled. This change in policy increases overall federal government recycled paper purchases from 18 percent to 62 percent. The policy change also results in near 100 percent compliance with paper requirements for President Clinton's Executive Order 12873 - Federal Acquisition, Recycling, and Waste Prevention, which requires Federal agencies to adopt recycling programs and to purchase environmentally friendly products.

Our new policy benefits people and the environment, said Sherri W. Goodman deputy under secretary of Defense for Environmental Security. The switch to recycled content copier paper is good for the Defense Department, good for the federal government, and good for Americans. Our large paper purchases will expand the market for recycled paper and for recycling of paper.

The Defense Department purchases 2.1 million boxes of paper per year from GSA. Among other environmental benefits the switch to using recycled content copier paper will save 150,000 trees per year and 60 million gallons of water-- the amount of water a million Americans use in one day.

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