THE WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: 202/456-7035
OCTOBER 20, 1993
Order Reduces Waste, Build Markets, Creates Jobs,
Spurs New Technologies, Protects Environment
NEW YORK -- In an appearance in New York City today (10/20) with Mayor David Dinkins, Vice President Al Gore announced that President Clinton had signed a bold executive order promoting recycling. The order promises to reduce solid waste, build markets for recycled products, encourage new technologies and protect the environment by requiring federal agencies to use recycled paper and other recycled products.
President Clinton, who also has signed executive orders on the federal purchase of energy-efficient computers, reporting of toxic emissions from federal facilities, how federal regulations are reviewed, and to create the President's Council on Sustainable Development, praised the recycling executive order when he signed it.
"Families, businesses and communities all across America know that recycling makes sense, it saves money and it protects the environment. It's time for the government to set an example and provide real leadership that will help create jobs and protect the environment, encouraging new markets for recycled products and new technologies," President Clinton said.
The Executive Order requires that all federal purchases of printing and writing paper contain 20 percent post-consumer material by the end of 1994 and 30 percent post-consumer material by the end of 1998. In addition, in order to further reduce the burden on landfills, paper made with 50 percent recovered byproducts from the production of goods other than paper or textiles may be purchased, provided that this waste would otherwise end up in a landfill.
Paper accounts for 40 percent of all solid waste and 77 percent of government office waste. Local governments spend more than $11 billion a year to dispose of it and a number of cities and states already purchase paper that contains 20 percent postconsumer material. The U.S. government uses 300,000 tons per year of printing and writing paper, approximately 2 percent of the market.
"This executive order will create a strong market for the paper now being collected by more than 5,500 community recycling programs all across our country, programs that involve more than one-third of all Americans. It will spur investment in recycling technologies and it will create needed jobs, primarily in the recycling sector and in cities," said Vice President Al Gore. "We can gain by harvesting a valuable resource that had been considered waste."
To stimulate the market immediately, federal agencies are directed to begin seeking bids for recycled paper now, well in advance of the actual purchasing requirements.
And, the order directs the General Services Administration to revise paper specifications that currently prevent the purchase of paper made through the most environmentally sound processes. According to some studies, harmful byproducts from paper production include chlorinated substances that can cause environmental damage including an increased risk of cancer. This order allows agencies to purchase paper that does not pose these problems.
The executive order also requires federal agencies to replace motor oil with re-refined oil and to replace virgin tires with re-tread tires. It requires every agency to designate a senior official to take responsibility for implementation of the order and to ensure purchasing of recycled and environmentally preferable goods.
The order requires agencies to comply with sections of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act that cover federal procurement of recycled products. The order also streamlines the process by which EPA issues content standards for recycled products and designates criteria for the purchase of environmentally preferable products. Under the order, all federal agencies must revise their specifications and standards so that recovered materials can be used to produce the products they purchase.