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Sustainable Operations

Waste Prevention & Recycling
Footprint Focus Area

Achieve 40% waste diversion by 2010 and exceed sustainable waste prevention and recycling business practices throughout allForest Service Program activities.

This is one area in which what we don’t know is practically as large as the topic. We know very little about waste prevention and recycling efforts on the national scale. We do know that recycling in general saves resources in production. For example, by switching 120 cases of paper to 100% recycled content, the Bighorn National Forest annually saves 180 pounds of air pollution, 12,300 kilowatts of energy, 73 trees, and 21,000 gallons of water!


Regions 2 and 5 and the Pacific Southwest Research Station have estimated their paper consumption and recycling, computers and associated hardware, and flammable and toxic materials based on data from the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest.

Nationally, recycling efforts will vary among the forests and Districts depending on the access to recycling efforts in the area and the presence of an employee who acts as recycling/waste prevention champion. There is no existing Regionwide inventory of recycling efforts or waste prevention.

Green purchasing includes buying products made from recycled content, environmentally preferable products and services, biobased products, energy-and water-efficient products,alternative fuel vehicles, products using renewable energy, and alternatives to hazardous or toxic chemicals. We currently have no organized system for tracking and reporting these purchases.

Quick Links to the topics on this page:

We must be thoughtful about the paper we reducing our environmental footprint we can operate more sustainably and do our part to conserve our natural resources, Forest Service Chief Abigail R. Kimbell.


Lead: WO Acquisitions Management

  • POLLUTION PREVENTION: Reduce use of chemicals and toxic materials and purchase lower risk chemicals and toxic materials from top priority list.
  • Achieve 40% waste diversion by 2010 and exceed sustainable waste prevention and recycling business practices throughout all Forest Service program activities


Executive Order 13423 (2007) requires the following:

  • Have recycling programs in pace and encourage their use.
  • Ensure that 100 percent of nonusable electronic products are reused, donated, sold, or recycled.
  • Reduce the quantity of toxic and hazardous chemicals and materials used by the agency.

Letters From Leadership

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Last Modified: 01/19/2012