Testimony of Thomas Ibsen
To Whom It May Concern,
I am writing to voice my support to the Senate Environment and Publics Works Committee proposal to strengthen the use of federal procurement practices as a means of strengthening markets for recycled goods.
The federal government certainly is the largest employer and purchaser in the country. Practices undertaken by the GSA and other federal agencies can play a big part in helping to guide product development towards sustainability and reuse. Helping to close the cycle of recycling by purchasing products with a higher post‑consumer recycled content is only one mechanism that the government can use to help stimulate product development in these areas.
The federal government might also consider restricting the purchase of certain resource intensive products such as those made of plastics when products of equal quality and durability already are constructed out of biodegradable materials. For example, packing peanuts are readily found in a cellulose‑based form that dissolves in water and is made of plant cellulose produced by American farmers. Styrofoam packing peanuts produced from oil‑based plastics are a landfill filler and litter the streets, parks and waters of our cities after blowing out of the trash.
Similarly, the government should consider the life of the product when making purchases. A $5 plastic stapler that breaks after a year and ends up in a land‑fill is not a good choice when a sturdy metal stapler that will last 10 or more years is currently available for $15.
Our nation's government has the wonderful opportunity to set an example for state, county and municipal governments within the United States and nations across the world by adopting purchasing practices that benefit both the environment AND the tax‑payers of this country. This is clearly a win‑win situation.
Please investigate and continue strengthening our government's purchasing power in shaping the future of our nation and the world. Thank you for your time.
1788 Palace Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55105