Sustainable procurement

Bundeswehr Clearly Exceeds Set Target for Recycled Paper

Bundeswehr Clearly Exceeds Set Target for Recycled Paper

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The “Sustainability Program” of the German Federal Government has set targets to promote a sustainable development in federal administration authorities and bodies. In 2021, the Bundeswehr once again clearly surpassed these targets.

Countless newspaper piles

New from old - recycled paper, a sustainable paper variant


The “Blue Angel” Quality Criterion

One goal of the sustainability program was to increase the use of recycled A4 paper for printing and copying to 95 percent by the end of 2020. The German eco label “Blue Angel” served as a quality criterion.

In order to gather data for the annual monitoring report, Branch E1.1 of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In‑Service Support (BAAINBwBundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr) carried out an overall evaluation of all paper procurements from Bundeswehr open-end contracts in 2021. The focus was on uncolored A4 printer and copy paper made of virgin fiber or recycled fiber.

100 Percent Recycled Paper

According to this evaluation, a total of 322,649,500 sheets of recycled paper of this type bearing the Blue Angel logo was ordered. This number is equal to 645,299 packages of 500 sheets each or 3,226 pallets on 70 trucks with trailer and a weight-carrying capacity of 25 tons.

In 2019, a new underlying open-end contract was concluded giving up completely on virgin-fiber paper. Therefore, the target set by the German Government was more than met once again after 2020. The maximum proportion of 100 percent was reached again in 2021, and the Bundeswehr was awarded a certificate for its achievements.

Three blue and orange pie charts in a row

Uncolored printer and copy paper: Since 2020, the Bundeswehr has only procured recycled paper


In comparison: In 2014, the proportion of Bundeswehr-procured printer and copy paper bearing the Blue Angel logo or FSCForest Stewardship Council/PEFCProgramme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes-certified printer and copy paper was still only 63.62 percent. In 2015, however, the proportion was 88.93 percent missing the then target of 90 percent set by the German Government by only a fraction. The same occurred from 2016 to 2019.

Important Contribution to Environmental and Climate Protection

Especially in the times of climate change, the sustainable procurement of products is an important contribution to environmental and climate protection. The systematic switch to Blue Angel-certified recycled printer and copy paper is an essential element of this contribution and proves the Bundeswehr’s responsible handling of natural resources.

To illustrate the advantages of the use of recycled paper instead of virgin-fiber paper for nature and environment and also the magnitude of this enormous amount of paper, the 322,649,500 sheets of paper were evaluated using the sustainability calculator of the “Initiative Pro Recyclingpapier” (pro-recycled paper initiative).

More than 4,800 tons of wood alone are saved by giving up the use of virgin-fiber paper. Additionally, nearly two thirds or 51,000 cubic meters of water and also nearly two thirds or 10,500 mega watt-hours of energy were saved. This also means that within the scope of the production, about 280 tons less of climate-damaging carbon dioxide are released.

By the way: The overall consumption of uncolored A4 printer and copy paper was also clearly reduced within the Bundeswehr. Compared to 2020, it decreased by 25 million sheets or - in other words - by more than seven percent.

by BAAINBw E1.1 - Point of contact for sustainable procurement   email