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Alameda County buys recycled content paper for its copying and office printing needs, which saves trees, water, and energy, and reduces greenhouse gases.

Office Paper

With this new contract, Alameda County set out to move all purchases of regular white copy paper to 100% post-consumer recycled content. By doing this, we support local recycling markets and reduce the lifecycle impacts associated with making paper such as deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and water use.

How We Did It

When going out to bid, we moved all of the County’s volume to 100% recycled content for the most commonly used types of white copy paper. By doing this, we made sure the bidders would give us their most competitive price for the product we wanted based on our full purchasing power. Our strategy paid off with great pricing for the 100% recycled content products—even lower than our previous contract prices!

Challenge:

On the previous contract, the price premium for the 100% recycled content paper was a barrier for agencies to make the switch up from 30% recycled content paper. So for several years leading up to this new paper contract bid, we focused our efforts on reducing overall paper use as a way to neutralize any cost premiums. As we developed our bid strategy for this new contract, we gained support from our stakeholders by showing how the cost savings from paper reduction would off-set the move to exclusively bidding 100% recycled content paper.

Benefits:

The paper making process is very energy and water intensive and uses a large number of chemicals. The impact is greater for paper made from virgin resource (no recycled content) than for paper made with recycled content. By switching to 100% post-consumer recycled content office paper in 2014, the County will save an additional 3376 trees, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 26 cars from the road for an entire year. (Environmental benefits estimates were made using the Environmental Paper Network Paper Calculator.

Read more about Alameda County's strategic efforts on copy paper in this award-winning case study published by the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council.

Documents

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