Federal Industrial Targets and Procurement Guidelines Programs Are Not Encouraging Recycling and Have Contract Problems

EMD-81-7: Published: Dec 5, 1980. Publicly Released: Jan 5, 1981.

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Federal procurement guidelines programs are discussed as they relate to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) and the National Energy Conservation Policy Act (NECPA).

Materials recovered from industrial and municipal solid wastes could make major contributions to the Nation's requirements for metals and paper. Increased recycling could also provide a significant new fuel source and concurrently lessen solid-waste disposal problems. However, the two referenced programs established by Congress to encourage recycling through Federal procurement guidelines and industrial targets are not succeeding. Both of the programs, like other resource recovery efforts, are lacking in direction, coordination, needed resources, and desired impact. For example, under the Federal procurement program the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) has not pursued its leadership responsibilities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has yet to issue any recycling guidelines, and Federal agencies are reduced to waiting for policy directives before encouraging the purchase of recycled products. The program for setting voluntary industrial recycling targets administered by the Department of Energy (DOE) will not promote recycling because economic factors determine such industry activities. The review by GAO of the use of contractors on both programs supports the need for an overall Federal conflict-of-interest contract policy.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status:

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should (1) consider enacting legislation establishing a preference program for recycled products in Federal agency procurements, taking into account the additional cost and administrative burden on the Federal procurement system; (2) direct the Administrator of OFPP to take a more active role with EPA to implement the objectives of RCRA, section 6002; (3) require evidence that any new programs will increase recycling before funds are appropriated for industrial target programs under NECPA; (4) enact legislation establishing a Federal conflicts-of-interest contracting policy; (5) review ongoing Office of Management and Budget efforts to develop directives on the use of contractors especially to prevent conflicts of interest; and (6) strengthen its oversight of contracting for consulting services.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status:

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of EPA should (1) work with the OFPP, and Congress if necessary, to develop a preference program for the procurement of recycled products; and (2) increase efforts toward identifying uses for recycled materials. However, it should avoid long-term efforts to determine percentage specifications for the content of recovered materials in purchased products. He should also amend regulations to require that conflict-of-interest clauses be included in all contracts.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  2. Status:

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should (1) not pursue efforts to redefine the industrial targets as allowed by NECPA; (2) continue to work with EPA to identify those recycled products and related programs that could have the most positive impact on the demand for this Nation's energy supplies; (3) in the long-term task-order or quick-response contracts of the type used in the industrial targets program contain language stating that competition is required where more than one of the available contractors have the expertise to complete a specific task; and (4) amend, where possible, all current open master contracts to ensure that new tasks or assignments under these contracts are governed by the new DOE conflict-of-interest regulations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  3. Status:

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Administrator of OFPP should (1) implement its responsibilities under RCRA, section 6002(g); (2) direct Federal procuring agencies toward accomplishing the objectives of the Act; (3) work with EPA and Congress to develop a preference purchasing program; and (4) actively address the policy issues raised by introducing rensiderations into the procurement process.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy


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