TIPS FOR BUYING RECYCLED
Get a Commitment:
- Obtain buy-in from management.
- Establish a recycling committee or assign a coordinator.
- Include a buy recycled statement in your mission statement or purchasing
Become Educated About Recycled Products:
- Use available directories to learn about what products that are
- Establish a baseline of what products your facility already
Evaluate and Revise Purchasing Specifications, Policies, Procedures:
- Identify what recycled products you are already purchasing.
- Move beyond office paper. Recycled products are available in many new
areas, including vehicle fleet, building and construction, and
- Review purchasing specifications for discrimination against recycled
products (such as brightness requirements).
- Conduct blind product tests.
- Define the amount of recycled content required for each product,
focusing on higher post-consumer content.
Set Goals and Monitor Progress:
- Goals should be time-based and specific. For example, "By July 1, 1996,
increase recycled paper purchased 50 percent over 1990 levels."
- Goals should motivate. State goals so that employees are accountable for
results. Be ready to adjust them periodically.
Look at Creative Cost Strategies:
- Shop around and conduct competitive bids. The number of recycled product
manufacturers and distributors continues to increase and become more
competitive. When vendors know you're serious about buying recycled, they'll
- Buy in bulk by ordering less often or by combining purchases with other
organizations (cooperative purchasing).
- Consider a product's life-cycle costs. For example, plastic lumber may
cost more than wood initially, but is more durable and requires less
maintenance and repair costs over its lifetime.
Work with Vendors:
- Let your vendors know, in writing, that you prefer high quality
post-consumer recycled products. Your commitment and purchasing power can
encourage a vendor to stock recycled products.
- Require your vendors to include certification of recycled content for
- Request that contractors, such as maintenance, janitorial, and
construction/builders use post-consumer recycled products in their
Promote Your Program:
- As stated before, let vendors know your preference for recycled
- Print organization publications, literature forms, and business cards on
recycled paper, including the words "Printed on Recycled Paper."
- Include information on your "buy recycled" program in your
organization's newsletter, advertising, and annual report.
Monitor Your Program:
- A successful "buy recycled" program should include monitoring of both
program implementation and recycled product markets.
- Compare your baseline data with present purchasing habits and document
- Recycled product problems are more often perceived than real. Therefore,
document both problems and solutions, and document the success stories as
- Keep current "buy recycled" information available for new market