MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA

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1 MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA RECYCLED PRODUCT AND WASTE REDUCTION POLICY I. Introduction On August 13, 1996, the Board of County Commissioners adopted a resolution supporting waste reduction, recycling and buy-recycled efforts within County Government operations. Purchasing products containing recycled content was a specific action the BOCC included in the resolution, and is expected of all County employees. In response to this directive, the Solid Waste Department formed a Waste Reduction Task Force charged with developing a buy-recycled program for the County. It is the goal of Mecklenburg County to make recycling a successful alternative to waste disposal by helping to create demand for products manufactured with discarded paper, metal, glass, plastic and other recyclable materials, and enhance environmental profile through the implementation of this policy. II. Purpose The purpose of this policy is to support markets for recycled and other environmentally preferable products by encouraging County agencies and contractors to buy such products whenever practicable and outline operating standards for waste reduction and recycling. III. Definitions The following terms shall have the assigned definitions for all purposes under this policy: A. County means Mecklenburg County, North Carolina B. Compost Products mean mulch, soil, amendments, ground cover, or other landscaping material derived from the biological or mechanical conversion of cellulose-containing waste materials. C. Environmentally preferable products means products that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with 1

2 competing products that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance, or disposal of the product. D. PaperChase refers to the County's internal office paper recycling program. Employees are encouraged to place all paper (i.e. letters, memos, etc.) in the designated recycling bins provided for each office instead of the trash containers. Staples and clips should be removed prior to discarding. E. Post-consumer recycled material means only those products generated by a business or consumer which have served their intended end uses, and which have been separated or diverted from the solid waste stream for the purpose of collection, recycling and disposition. F. Practicable means the recycled products can perform the function intended at least as well as a product produced from only virgin material, and the cost reasonably approximates the cost of the product produced from only virgin materials. G. Recyclable product means a product, which after its intended end use, can demonstrably be diverted from the County's solid waste stream for use as a raw material in the manufacture of another product. H. Recycled material means material and byproducts that have been recovered or diverted from solid waste and that can be utilized in place of raw or virgin material in manufacturing a product. It is derived from postconsumer recycled material, manufacturing waste, industrial scrap, agricultural waste, and other waste material, but does not include material or byproducts generated from, and commonly reused within, an original manufacturing process. I. Recycled product means a product containing recycled material. IV. Objectives A. To develop and maintain information about environmentally preferable products and recycled products containing the maximum practicable amount of recycled materials, to be purchased by agencies whenever possible. Initially, these shall include the products designated in Section V of this policy; B. Inform departments of their responsibility under this policy and provide implementation assistance; C. Disseminate information on recycled and environmentally preferable product procurement opportunities, specifications, and performance, to agencies; D. Communicate with agencies to review policy requirements and new procurement opportunities, and to monitor the status of policy implementation product research results; 2

3 E. Publicize the progress of policy implementation; and F. Submit an annual report to the Board of County Commissioners reflecting the implementation status of the procurement program, including: 1. A compilation of procurement data collected from all agencies and other parties charged with implementation responsibility under this policy; 2. An account of the current status of product evaluations conducted by departments; 3. An assessment of procurement program effectiveness, an evaluation of program goals, and projections of future procurement opportunities; and 4. Recommendations for changes in procurement policy. V. Guidelines 1. Departments are expected to purchase and use products made wholly or in part with post consumer recycled materials whenever feasible and practicable. 2. Departments are discouraged from using disposable products where reusable products are available and should make efforts to acquire items that can be recycled when discarded. 3. The purchase of items, which are excessively packaged are to be avoided or kept to a minimum. 4. Equipment purchased or rented by the County should be compatible, whenever practicable, with the use of recycled content products (e.g. photocopy machines). 5. Product specifications and requisitions for products must conform to the following guidelines: Specifications and requisitions shall not require the exclusive use of products made from virgin materials, nor specifically exclude the use of recycled content products; Performance standards must be reasonable and related to function, and shall not be designed to exclude the purchase of recycled content products; To the extent such information is known, County staff shall identify in the purchase requisition products available with recycled content and vendors from whom such products are available; and The purchasing agent has the authority to specify a minimum recycled content standard in bid solicitations. 3

4 6. Efforts are to be made to replace commercial cleaning products with less toxic or non-toxic alternatives 7. Department heads are expected to educate employees about waste reduction/recycling objectives. 8. Departments are expected to follow initiatives outlined in Appendix B and implement as standard operating procedures for all County employees. VI. VII. Criteria for Product Selection. When selecting products, the following criteria is to be considered: 1. The ability of a product and its packaging to be reused, reconditioned for use, or recycled through existing recycling collection programs; and 2. The volume and toxicity of waste and by-products a given product and its packaging generate in their manufacture, use, recycling and disposal. Exemptions. 1. Nothing contained in this policy shall preclude user departments from requiring recycled material content as a bid specification. 2. Nothing in this policy shall be construed as requiring a department or contractor to procure products that do not perform adequately for their intended use or are not available at a reasonable price in a reasonable period of time. 4

5 APPENDIX A Environmentally Preferable Products A. Paper and Paper Products: Whenever practicable, paper products should be purchased which at a minimum meet the State of North Carolina's definition of "recycled paper products" (at least 10% post-consumer recovered material and at least 30% total recovered material) B. Compost Products: Blended topsoil Fill Soil Potting Soil Sand (Creek or Play) Compost that meets the Seal of Testing Assurance from US Composting Council Composted Cow Manure - that meets the Seal of Testing Assurance from US Composting Council C. Horticultural mulch made with recycled land clearing and other wood debris; Hardwood mulch - made with recycled land clearing and other wood debris Nugget mulch - made by going through the composting process, then screened out Pallet mulch - with or without dyes Pine needle or bark (not best option economically) Stone or Rock D. Native Plants Native species are those that occur in a region in which they have adapted over long periods of time. More specifically, native plants in a particular area are those that were growing naturally in the area before humans introduced plants from distant places. Examples of NC Native Plants Include: Trees Shrubs Flowers Dogwood Flame Azalea Violet Red Maple Rhododendron Black-eyed Susan Hickory Elderberry Coreopsis E. Remanufactured laser printer & toner cartridges. HP Inkjet Cartridges HP & IBM Laser Printer Cartridges HP Toner Cartridges 5

6 F. Construction Products That Contain Recycled Materials. Insulation Carpet Carpet Padding Ceiling Tile Paint Plastic Lumber G. Reprocessed Aggregate Crushed Stone Asphalt 6

7 APPENDIX B Recycling and Waste Reduction Initiatives In compliance with the Board of County Commissioners adopted resolution supporting waste reduction, recycling and buy-recycled efforts within County Government operations, all County employees are to adhere to the following three specific actions: 1. Reduce waste at the source; 2. Participate in the County s internal office paper recycling program, PaperChase; and 3. Follow guidelines established under the County s Buy Recycled Policy. To further support this effort, the following initiatives are to be considered standard operating procedures for all County employees. General Correspondence (memos, letters, minutes, agendas, documents, etc.) 1. Format all correspondence and documents to adhere to waste reducing behaviors. a) Decrease margin allowances (top, bottom, and sides). b) Avoid multiple pages. c) Single space correspondence/document to conserve space. d) Use double-sided copying function for all correspondence and documents over one page. e) Presentation handouts made from slides or overheads must contain the maximum number of slides or overheads per page as possible. 2. Use recycled content paper for originals and recovered used paper for draft letters/documents. 3. Use GroupWise or to reduce the amount of waste generated. a) Avoid excessive printing of GroupWise or correspondence. 4. Reuse envelopes to transmit internal mail or use faxes whenever possible to eliminate the need for envelops. 5. Reduce office junk mail (call to request a Junk Mail Terminator card). 6. Submit Board of County Commissioner agendas electronically. Invitation to Bid and Request for Proposals 1. Format to eliminate excessive margin widths (top, bottom and sides). 2. Copy documents two-sided (exceptions only as warranted by document complexities). 3. Use recycled paper. 4. First item to be listed under proposal submission requirement is the 7

8 following statement: Proposals are to be compatible with the County s in-house office paper recycling program, PaperChase. Therefore, they are to be printed on recycled paper, copied front and back, and stapled in upper left-hand corner. Three ring notebooks, spiral bindings, plastic covers, and any other materials contributing to the County waste stream are discouraged unless they are reusable. RFP s for new construction, demolition, and renovations for County facilities must include an additional statement that encourages the vendor to reduce, reuse, and recycle building materials. Examples: Vendors will recycle all cardboard generated by renovations involving procurement of large quantities of fixtures and/or furnishing from job sites. Removal of construction and demolition wastes is encouraged to be managed in a manner that segregates recyclables such as metals. PaperChase and Confidential Office Waste Employees are required to participate and to adhere to program guidelines. Trash discarded in centralized containers creates a contamination problem and decreases the value of the recycled material. It also increases the risk of rejection by the vendor, in which case the paper would be disposed of in a landfill as a trash product instead of marketed as a commodity as intended. Confidential office papers are to be prepared in a manner (such as shredding) that makes them compatible for inclusion in the PaperChase program or allows them to be disposed in a non-land filled method. Forms and Other Custom Printed Materials Employees are required to evaluate existing forms or materials for use, type, and size prior to placing reorders. Evaluation factors are: Reformatting: Can size be decreased? Multi-parts: Will a 1-part form suffice? Quantity: Period of usefulness? 8

9 Cardboard Where applicable, employees are required to flatten cardboard (corrugated) boxes, and place them neatly in designated areas for removal by the custodial service provider. Purchasing/Buy-Recycled Guidelines established in the County s Buy-Recycled Policy are to be followed. Reusable Mugs Employees are encouraged to use their own reusable cups and other containers. Recycling in Meeting Rooms Meeting attendees are to be informed that County facilities and meeting rooms are recycling environments. Where practicable, meeting hosts are responsible for ensuring that paper and other recyclables such as aluminum cans are transferred to the appropriate recycling containers within the buildings. Departments are encouraged to establish in-house recycling programs for the recovery of aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles and jars. (Call , the Solid Waste Department of the Land Use and Environmental Services Agency for information). Catered Lunches Styrofoam boxes and cups are to be avoided. Alternatives are (1) reusable plates, utensils, and napkins; and (2) bagged lunches. Employees are encouraged to be creative in reuse of containers such as donating them to day care facility for use in children s arts and crafts. Reduction, reuse and recycling are the responsibility of each employee. 9

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