Senator Carper and Senator Snowe Introduce Legislation to Encourage the Procurement of Recycled Goods within the Federal Government

WASHINGTON – Today Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced legislation to encourage the use of recycled goods within the Federal government. The bill titled “Federal Procurement of Recycled Materials to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions” defines reasonable cost for the Federal procurement of recycled materials. Under current law, Federal agencies are able to procure recycled goods as long as the goods are not unreasonable in price; however, there is no existing definition of reasonable cost for recycled goods to guide Federal agencies in the procurement process, which discourages recycling.   


The Federal government is the largest purchaser of goods in the U.S.  The clarification of reasonable cost established in this bill will not only spur the use of recycled materials within the Federal government but it will also help create a market demand for recycled goods throughout the larger economy. 


“This bill not only encourages our Federal agencies to use recycled goods, it also sends a market signal that will help grow recycling within our larger economy,” said Senator Carper, co-chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus.  “Just as was the case in the 1990s when the Federal government began purchasing recycled paper, the increased demand for the product spurred competition and drove down prices, making it more affordable for all consumers to purchase recycled paper. Similarly, this bill will help create an enhanced market demand for recycled goods throughout our economy, and at the same time will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save us energy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the United States.”


“Recycling has tangible benefits for reducing energy consumption, eliminating land fill waste, and cutting carbon emissions.  The Federal government should be taking the lead when purchasing recycled products, and I believe this clarification of the Federal statute will greatly enhance recycled product throughout the Federal agencies.  As co-chair of the Recycling Caucus with Senator Carper, I deeply appreciate his leadership on this vital issue and look forward to enacting this legislation into law,” said Senator Snowe.  


Senator Carper added, “This bill is a win-win for our environment and for our economy. Recycling and remanufacturing industries contribute over one million jobs and more than $236 billion to our economy each year. Recycling also helps us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Through recycling activities, we can avoid greenhouse gas emissions that account for as much as five percent of our country’s entire carbon inventory. At a time when our resources – financial and natural – are stretched, we need win-win solutions like recycling to help move our country forward and put us on a path towards a healthy economy and a healthy environment.”   


Senators Carper and Snowe’s legislation defines reasonable cost for the Federal procurement of recycled materials as no more than 110 percent of the price of the highest-ranked competing bid for goods with at least 25 percent recycled content, thus clarifying that a 10 percent premium for goods with at least 25 percent recycled content is not unreasonable.