PEORIA, Ariz. (Nov.
9, 2009) – By making a concerted effort to factor sustainability into their
purchasing decisions, Peoria officials have dramatically increased the
percentage of green products among the office supplies the city purchases --
while at the same time cutting Peoria’s total bill for office supplies by more
“We decided to purchase
sustainable products when practical because it is the right thing to do,” says
City Manager Carl Swenson. “The fact that it’s saving money for the city is a
bonus, but a fortuitous one during this economic downturn.”
The share of green and
recycled items reached 70 percent during the first six months of 2009, up from
14 percent for all of 2008 – a fivefold increase.
And while Peoria spent
about $330,000 on office supplies last year, it is on pace to spend about
$200,000 in 2009.
Department’s Materials Management Division handles purchasing for the city. It
defines “green products” as those that are made from recycled materials or those
that have been remanufactured for reuse.
“City employees have
really embraced the program,” says Dan Zenko, Materials Management supervisor.
“That is what drove our rate from 14 percent to 70 percent with just a little
encouragement and showing them what we could save.”
Zenko says one of the
biggest successes has been a shift to recycled toner cartridges: “We did a pilot
program through our IT department and found that the quality and performance
rates on the remanufactured cartridges were similar to name-brand products.”
Contrary to the popular belief that environmentally friendly products cost more,
Zenko says there are quite a few that cost about the same or less than regular
“With all employees
being asked to cut back on expenditures, to watch what they purchase and to only
purchase what they really need to do their jobs, the result has been everyone
taking a closer look at what is being purchased -- which has helped the green
initiative,” Zenko says.
So when he talks about
Peoria spending one-third less on office supplies, he says, “Part of that is
savings from going green and part of that is simply being frugal in what we
Either way, Peoria