United States
Protection Agency
Solid Waste & Emergency Response (OS-305)
 Printed on Recycled Paper


   n recent years, citizens, industry, and.'
_ government at all levels have begun using
innovative approaches to challenge the
"throwaway" ethic that has dominated the.
nation's solid waste management practices.
Recycling is an increasingly attractive option,
and has gained support in communities
across the country, because it can help
conserve natural resources, reduce the
amount of waste sent to landfills, reduce
disposal costs, and provide an alternative
source of raw materials for industry. As part
of a nationwide strategy, the U.S. Environ-
mental Protection Agency (EPA) set a goal
of recycling and reducing at least 25 percent
of the nation's solid waste by 1992. In many
areas of the country, including the District of
Columbia, .state and local laws require that
government agencies .and private organiza-
. tions recycle.                .'•'•>

 .  Federal agencies can play a strong leader-
 ship role in promoting recycling'oy setting up
 programs within their organizations that are
 positive examples for their local communi-
 ties, other agencies, and the rest of the nation.
. The immediate benefits of such efforts can be
 impressive as well. Most federal offices, for
 example, could reduce their waste disposal
 costs by as much as 50 percent simply by
 separating out their high-grade office'paper
 for recycling.

    Collecting recyclable materials is only part
 of the recycling "loop," however. Procure-
 ment of recycled goods is also necessary to
 stimulate markets and complete the recycling
 "loop." EPA has established procurement
 guidelines requiring the federal government
 to buy certain products made from recycled
 materials. Many state and local governments
 are also actively procuring products made
 with recycled materials.

        Many federal agencies have already im-
        plemented recycling programs; others
 are just beginning. This brochure describes
 several successful and innovative programs
 that have been initiated in the federal
 government, and lists some of the resources
 available to federal agencies to help them
  establish or expand a recycling program.


    ince 1988, a group of volunteers at EPA
    Headquarters in Washington, DC, has
worked to instill a recycling ethic in the
Agency. EPA's office paper recovery program
is now collecting an average of 65 tons of
paper per month, sorted into high-grade (such
as letterhead, publications, white copier, and
computer paper), low-grade (such as colored
paper and file folders), and newspaper. Each
employee receives a two-part desktop
container for the collection of high- and low-
grade paper. Office areas are equipped with
central collection bins where employees
deposit the contents of their desktop contain-
ers. Copy centers are supplied with 44-gaIlon
barrels for paper collection. Collection bins
have also been set up for old newspapers.
   A voluntary glass recycling program has
also been initiated at EPA Headquarters.
Seven glass collection containers or "igloos,"
provided to EPA by the DC Council of
Churches and the Glass Packaging Institute,
are located outside EPA's main building.
These igloos are available for community as
well as employee use; many residents drop off
glass during the weekends. EPA is now the
largest recycler of glass in the DC area,
collecting 22,000 pounds of alass per month.
.Proceeds from the glass collection are shared
by EPA,and the Council of Churches. The
funds received by EPA (about $2,500 in FY
1989) have been donated to EPA's Early En-
vironments Child Daycare Center. Another
component of EPA's in-house program is the
aluminum can collection program begun in
July 1990. An average of 500 pounds of
aluminum cans are collected each month.
Proceeds from aluminum can recycling also
go to the daycare center.

   The Agency also ran a 14-week program
called "Operation Cleanup" during the spring/
summer of 1990. Employees were asked to
clean up their file cabinets and desks and
separate their recyclables from the trash. Over
170 tons of recyclable paper were collected—
more than twice the amount of trash collected
during the cleanup. Reusable supplies (such as
vinyl folders, computer paper, and file
folders) also were collected and will be
recycled through the Agency's supply store.

   Many of EPA's regional offices also have
active recycling programs. Region 4 (Atlanta,
Georgia), for example, collected'almost
139,000 pounds of paper, glass, and alumi-
num in the first year of its recycling program.
Region 4 is also initiating a volunteer
speakers program for outreach to schools and
community and business groups. Region 7
(Kansas Gity, Kansas) is working to promote
a "recycling ethic" through its program,
which targets paper, aluminum, and laser
toner cartridges.

   ' he General Services Administration
     (GSA) provides technical assistance to
federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area
in developing and implementing office
recycling programs. GSA-assisted paper
recycling programs are already operating, and
programs for bottles and cans are planned to
begin in the fall of 1990.

   To date, GSA has assisted federal
agencies establish paper recycling programs
at over 140 locations. Employees use desktop
collection containers to sort high-grade recy-
clable paper and empty these containers into
centralized containers located in each office,
copy center, or computer center. The
custodial-crew then takes the paper to a
loadingjiock or appropriate storage area for
pickup by a GSA contractor.  Over 250,000
federal employees in the Washington, DC,
area generate recyclable paper, and GSA
expects to collect 25,000 to 30,000 tons of
paper in FY 1990. As of May 1990, GSA had
sold 212,000 desktop containers and 17,000
centralized containers for use by agencies in
the DC area as well as several other regions.
GSA also encourages agencies to collect
lower grades of paper ir> large quantities, and
will be expanding its program to include
newspaper in the near future.


     he U.S. Department of the Interior's
     National Park Service (NPS) has initi-
ated recycling programs in national parks
throughout the country. Over 100 national
parks currently have recycling programs; this
number is expected to grow as NPS imple-
ments a new, comprehensive solid waste
management program. Materials collected at
national parks each year include aluminum
(over 76,000 pounds); glass (more than
345,000 pounds); paper (nearly 160,000
pounds); oil (over 12,000 pounds); plastic
(730 pounds); and miscellaneous materials
such as cardboard,  chipboard, and newspaper
(over 570,000 pounds). These recycling
efforts are not only valuable to the Park
Service, but also serve as excellent examples
to the thousands of people who visit national
parks each day.    **•

Materials Collected Annually at National
Parks for Recycling
   Yosemite National Park, for example, has
had an arrangement with its concessioner for
over 12 years to jointly collect and recycle
solid waste. The materials collected and
recycled include aluminum, glass, paper,
waste oil, plastics, and cardboard. The conces-
sioner uses the profits from the recycling
effort forspecial projects to benefit the park,
such as revegetation of meadows. Another
park, the Statue of Liberty National Monu-
ment (STLI), recently initiated a compost
program for organic lawn wastes (such as
grass clippings and leaves) which were previ-
ously sent to a landfill. The compost is an eco-
nomical source of soil amendment for the
park's horticultural needs, and reduces the
solid waste generated at STLI by about 4 toi
or 20 cubic yards per year.

   In an innovative cooperative effort betwe
government and industry, Dow Chemical
Company is arranging for the collection, tra
portation, separation, and recycling of plasti
aluminum, and glass waste for selected
national parks. Dow is also developing, in c
operation with NFS, a public education
program aimed at encouraging park visitors
participate in the recycling effort. Pilot
projects are beginning in 1990 at Acadia
National Park, Great Smoky Mountains
National Park, and Grand Canyon National

    o stimulate and strengthen the markets
    for recyclable materials, EPA has issue
procurement guidelines requiring federal
agencies, grantees, and contractors to buy
certain products made of recycled materials
To date, guidelines have been issued for fiv
product types: building insulation products,
cement and concrete containing fly ash,
paper and paper products, lubricating oils
containing re-refined oils, and retread tires.
Additional guidelines are also being plannei
A number of federal agencies are now suc-
cessfully implementing these procurement
guidelines. For example, EPA buys recyclec
paper for printing 95 percent of all EPA pul
lications. All of EPA's letterhead is also
recycled paper.

  "The Joint Committee on Printing (JCP),
the Congressional committee responsible fc
setting standards for printing paper bought 1
the federal government, recently issued
specifications for government procurement
recycled paper. This action makes the feder
government one of the largest purchasers oi
recycled photocopying, printing, and writin
papers in.the world. It also sends a message
to the paper industry that the federal
government (which buys about 2.5 percent
the paper industry's production, including
486,000 tons of printing paper each year) is
ready market for competitively priced
recycled paper products. The first truckload
of newly purchased recycled copier paper
will be delivered to EPA and several other
federal agencies in the Washington, DC, ari
in the early fall of 1990.




 A wealth of information and assistance is
j[\. available to guide federal agencies that
wish to begin or expand recycling efforts—
collecting materials for recycling, procuring
goods made with recycled materials, or both.
The listing below describes several new
resources that can help an agency make its
recycling program a success.
   This EPA handbook providei; detailed
guidance for personnel responsi ble for
developing and implementing office paper
recovery programs. It includes information
on assessing an agency's recycling potential,
finding markets for paper, and educating-
employees. A case study of EPA's. paper
recovery program explains how that program
became a success.

   The manual is particularly useful for
recycling coordinators in federal institutions
and agencies since it explains federal regula-
tions and-policies, as well as the assistance
available from the General Services Admini-
stration. In addition, the principles outlined in
the manual would be helpful to anyone
planning an office paper recovery program, -
including state'and local government
agencies, commercial businesses, and other
private organizations.

   To'order, call the RCRA/Superfund
Hotline at 1-800-424-9346 and ask for EPA/
 This handbook presents general information
 about developing .and implementing an office
 recycling program (for paper, glass, alumi-
 num, plastics, and other materials). It
 addresses the five key components of a
 comprehensive office recycling program:   .
 education, collection, marketing, procure-
 ment, and monitoring and evaluation. It
 provides step-by-step guidance for beginnin
 a recycling program as well as useful infor-
 mation for fine-tuning programs that are
 already operating.

   To order, call the EPA Headquarters
 Recycling Office at (202) 382-6980.
    This handbook provides a general'intro-
 duction to office recycling, and describes th
 steps that make up a successful program:
 selecting a coordinator, evaluating the
 office's waste stream, deciding what materi
 als to recycle, minimizing waste generation
 and educating employees. Detailed.appendi
 ces include information on topics such as
 waste collection options, waste hauling, cor
 monly recycled materials, contaminants in
 the recycling stream, and sample kickoff
 memos. A list of helpful references and
 publications and a glossary of recycling ten
 are also included.

   To order, contact the Waste Managemer,
 Division of EPA Region 5 at (312) 886-097>
 '   EPA developed this Guide primarily to
help state and local solid waste decision-
makers. It.should also assist managers of
large federal installations and those interest
in integrating federal recycling programs ar
local community programs. The Guide re-
flects the multi-faceted nature of today's
evolving waste management technology.
Volume 1, which is now available, contains
.information to help decision-makers under-
stand and evaluate  their current waste man-
agement problems. It also presents possible
solutions, and describes the interrelationshi;
among recycling and other waste manage-
ment options. Volume 2, which is expected
be available in the winter of 1991, will


contain detailed information directed at
managers responsible for implementing and
integrating the chosen waste management ap-

   To order, call the RCRA/Superfund
Hotline at 1-800-424-9346 and ask for EPA/

  • EPA is developing training materials to
 educate recycling coordinators and building
 managers about what they need to know to
 develop, implement, and maintain a
 recycling program. Tfiese materials include
 course materials for seminars to train
 recycling coordinators and educational/pro-
 motional materials for individual employees,
 such as slide shows,  postersji'aiMl brochures;'
 In a series of pilot programs, EPA;'will.help
 set up recycling programs in federal facilities
 and will monitor me succesS;Of the training
 and educational materials.       / •  :

    For more information, contact the U.S.
 EPA Office of Solid Waste at-.(2Q2) 382-
    (3S A provides technical assistance to
 federal agencies in the Washington, UC, area
 that are interested in developing recycling
 programs for office paper, newspaper,
 aluminum cans, and glass. GSA works one-
 on-one with federal agency representatives
 who wish to set up recycling programs, and
 provides additional training sessions,
 including a slide show and/or a. video
 presentation, for individuals assigned to
 implement recycling within agency offices
 (or for all employees, if desired). GSA also
 offers use of existing waste hauling contracts
 for removal of recyclables.

    For more information, contact GSA's
 Federal Recycling Program at (202) 501-
    The Federal Agency Recycling Confer-
ence, cosponsored by EPA and GSA, is
bringing together senior-level administrators
from the 197 federal agencies in the Wash-
ington, DC, area to promote recycling, and t<
discuss regulations, policies, and issues
regarding pollution prevention, waste man-
agement, and procurement of recycled goods
in government agencies. A second confer-
ence will be held for directors of facilities
and directors of procurement in federal
agencies. It will provide detailed guidance
for developing and implementing recycling
and procurement programs.

   For more information, contact the EPA
Headquarters Recycling Office at (202) 382-
   EPA's procurement guidelines require th
federal government to buy certain products
made of recycled materials. EPA has estab-
lished a telephone hotline to respond to
questions about the guidelines from agencies
vendors, and the general public. Copies of tt
guidelines are also available through the

   For more information, call the Procure-
ment Guidelines Hotline at (703) 941-4452.

  &  s demonstrated by the many successful
 /JL programs being implemented in
 agencies across the country and the wealth <
 helpful resources, recycling can be done am
 done effectively. But collecting recyclable
 materials is not enough. Federal agencies
 must be knowledgeable about all aspects of
 developing, implementing, and operating a
 recycling program. They must also do their
 part to complete the recycling loop by buyii
 products made from recycled materials.
 Through recycling and procurement, the
 federal community can lead the country in
 solving the solid waste dilemma.