One of the most important recycling challenges Americans face is convincing local governments to buy recycled goods.
It's worth the effort: With government's multibillion-dollar purchasing power on our side, the price of recycled goods will fall . . . and the supply will grow.
Last week I suggested that you call City Hall and encourage officials to adopt purchasing policies that favor recycled products. In the next few EarthWorks columns, I'll supply information you can pass on to government officials to help them get this process started. First, some general resources:
If city council members or city purchasing managers are interested in getting more data on "recycled purchasing policies," recommend these two publications:
* "Local Government Procurement and Market Development" -- a how-to guide available from The Local Government Commission, 12th St., Suite 205, Sacramento, Calif. 95814. Cost: $8.50.
* The Government Procurement Kit covers topics like "Creating Markets for Recycling" and "Municipal Government Recycling Purchase Policies." Available from Conservatree Information Services, 10 Lombard St., Suite 250, San Francisco, Calif. 94111; (415) 433-1000. Cost: $9.
Recycling Groups Purchasing managers can also try contacting these organizations for information. Both groups are strong advocates of recycled purchasing policies:
* The National Recycling Coalition, 1101 30th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007.
* The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, 2425 18th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009.
The Recycled 'Bible' Every government purchasing office should have a copy of The Recycled Products Guide or at least have access to it.
The guide is a national directory of recycled goods. It's an annual publication (updated twice during the year) that contains more than 1,500 listings of recycled products -- from paper to acoustic ceiling tiles to speed bumps.
The guide isn't cheap. It goes for $195 a year for two issues (plus a free newsletter), or $105 for the latest single volume. But it's worth the money; there's no comparable source. Your town government may not have to buy a copy; the book could already be in a local library. Call around to find out. For more information:
American Recycling Market, Inc., P.O. Box 577, Ogdensburg, N.Y. 13669; (800) 267-0707.
Next week: sources for buying recycled goods.