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Statement for Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee on A2783

March 15, 2021

Clean Water Action thanks the committee for the opportunity to comment on A2783 and Assemblyman Stanley and Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle for sponsoring this bill. Clean Water Action supports the bill directing the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop guidelines for state and local government purchases to be more environmentally sustainable.

State and local government spending can have a strong positve impact on creating markets for environmentally conscious products and services, making it easier and more economically feasible for businesses and individual consumers follow suit. With the recent ban on single-use carryout bags and polystyrene foam containers, as well as the progressing statewide post-consumer recycled content requirements bill introduced in the Senate (S2515), a bill setting wide reaching sustainable procurement guidelines for state agencies would be a powerful next step toward a healthier and greener economy and planet. 

Clean WAter Action has been actively working with Senator Smith on the post-consumer recycled content requirement bill (S2515) and we would like to see movement on the Assembly version (A4676). The current version of S2515/A4676 already covers products purchased by state and local governments. 

Instead of reiterating provisions similar to the recycled content bill, A2783 should supplement these requirements by directing the DEP to develop government procurement guidelines for the purchase of products, services, and technologies that prioritize additional elements of environmental sustainability. These elements should include reuse, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction, toxics reduction, low water use, life cycle costing, fair labor practices, and ethical supply chains. 

Clean Water Action is happy to provide examples of sustainable procurement guidelines existing elsewhere to inform the committee's discourse on appropriate amendments. We look forward to collaborating with the sponsors and this committee as the bill moves forward. Thank you.

Maura Toomey, Zero Waste Organizer