Clackmannanshire Council's eco-credentials have been given a boost this week with the decision to significantly increase the proportion of recycled paper it uses in its offices.
Council agreed at its meeting on Thursday 14 August to set an initial target of using 50% recycled paper for 2008/09 with an aspiration to reach 100% within the next couple of years.
Paper constitutes half all office waste in the UK and the average office worker uses up to 100 sheets of paper a day.
Using virgin and old growth forests for office paper results in the loss of forests, the destruction of habitats, is energy intensive and causes pollution.
Studies have revealed that recycling paper and using recycled paper generate less waste and reduces carbon emissions. In fact, making recycled paper uses less energy and water in its manufacture than new paper.
Councillor Eddie Carrick, the Council's sustainability portfolio holder, said: "Clackmannanshire is a progressive local authority setting high environmental standards and the use of recycled paper is a clear demonstration of sustainable procurement.
"I am delighted that the Council has taken this decision because it will reduce the impact of our business on the environment and fulfil environmental policies including our commitment to Scotland's Climate Change Declaration and our Carbon Management Plan.
"Clackmannanshire has led the way on kerbside recycling for some years and now I hope other businesses across the country will follow the Council's example in using recycled products in-house."
Although recycled paper is currently slightly more expensive than non-recycled paper, the cost of buying it can be offset by savings made through reducing paper use across the Council. Buying recycled paper, and thus providing a market for recycled goods, is a way for the Council to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.
The Council's Green Office Campaign has already made an impact and it will be used to spread the message about reducing paper waste within offices.
1. Between April 2006 and March 2007 Clackmannanshire Council used 28,843 reams of paper, costing on average £2.10 per ream. This was an increase in paper use of around 5% on the previous year. The cost of this paper was approximately £60,652. Multifunctional devices for printing, photocopying, faxing and scanning have now been introduced to most Council offices which offer significant savings in resource and energy. In January - march 2008 the Council's paper use was 24% lower than in the same period last year, suggesting that the necessary annual reductions in paper use are achievable to offset the additional cost of buying recycled paper.
2. The first national contract for office supplies is anticipated to be in place for April 2009. The Council's Procurement Manager is a member of the national forum for office supplies that formulated this contract for the whole public sector in Scotland. It is anticipated that due to this more collaborative approach to paper purchasing that economies of scale can be achieved and that a more competitive pricing structure will emerge, particularly in the case of papers with 100% recycled content.