Friday, May 08, 2009

Washington State Gets Lean and Goes Green with New Paper Law

This week, Washington State continued its leadership in environmentally responsible procurement, reducing government waste and spurring creative green economic recovery efforts with a big announcement. Governor Chris Gregoire (pictured) signed the paper recycling and conservation act, sponsored in the 2009 legislative session by Reps. Lynn Kessler and Kevin Van De Wege, which directs state government to:

  • Reduce printing and copy paper use by at least 30 percent, beginning no later than July 1, 2010.
  • Purchase 100 percent recycled content paper for printing and copying by Dec. 31, 2009.
  • Recycle 100 percent of copy and printing paper in all buildings with 25 employees or more.
  • Restrict future leases or purchases of printers and copiers to models that will efficiently use 100 percent recycled content white sheet bond paper.
  • Give priority to purchasing from companies that produce paper in facilities powered by a renewable energy source.

"This new law is a win for the state of Washington," said Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, when signing the bill into law. "It saves money for taxpayers while reducing waste. In addition, it encourages innovation and job growth. With a growing market for recycled paper products, our Washington paper mills will create living-wage jobs to produce the paper products we need in today's world."

The Department of Ecology (Ecology) estimates that the increased paper conservation and recycling requirements will save state taxpayers about $1 million per year. According to the agency's waste reduction experts, the increased cost of purchasing 100 percent recycled paper can be offset by setting printers to double-sided printing and by paper conservation efforts.

The additional high-quality white office paper collected due to this bill will provide material for manufacturers of recycled printing and writing paper in the state and help create jobs.

What are you waiting for? What's in your paper?

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