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Aldermen balk at price of being green

Evanston aldermen have decided their commitment to being environmentally friendly doesn’t extend to paying 27 percent more to print the quarterly Parks and Recreation magazine on recycled paper.

Aldermen on the Administration and Public Works Committee complained last week about the cost estimate from Hi-Liter Graphics of Burlington, Wis., for substituting recycled paper in an extension of the company’s contract for printing the magazine, which lists recreation programs across the city.

Alderman Cheryl Wollin said, "Every year since 1989 I’ve been saying, ‘Can’t we print this huge piece of publicity on recycled paper?’ But I’m as aware as anybody of the tight budgetary constraints."

Alderman Delores Holmes said, "This is another case of being green being expensive. I think we need to try to find other vendors to find cheaper rates."

Carolyn Collopy, the city’s sustainability coordinator, told the aldermen, "Recycled paper is still a little more expensive than virgin paper, you may or may not find something cheaper than what you’ve been quoted here."

She said the city uses "sustainably harvested" rather than 100 percent recycled paper in its copying machines because the recycled paper is "substantially more expensive."

Parks chief Doug Gaynor said that Hi-Liter had agreed to hold to the same printing price as last year for using regular paper stock, despite a 20 percent increase in paper prices so far this year. The city spends about $66,000 a year to print the magazine.

In the end the aldermen voted to go ahead with printing the next issue on regular paper, but asked staff to look for other options for the future.

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