The EPA continues to have a “mindset” of relying on paper rather than electronic publications, with one result being that much of it ends up in the recycling bin, according to an IG report.
The report noted that an executive order of 2011 encourages agencies to limit the publication and printing of hard copy documents, and presumes that information will be provided in an electronic format whenever practicable. However, EPA’s policy regarding printing is more than 20 years old and “does not provide effective guidance for accountability or oversight,” the report said.
“EPA’s current mindset leads the agency to amass large quantities of printed material. EPA staff believe it is cheaper to print in bulk and then store the material. The potential for waste is high, as evidenced by the nearly 8 million items recycled at the National Service Center for Environmental Publications between June 2013 and March 2015,” it said.
The IG noted that in reaction to a previous report, the agency had agreed to develop a new policy on printing by December 2014. The EPA extended that deadline several times, though, and “still has not established realistic milestones to implement all corrective actions. As a result, the EPA still cannot effectively control print management functions.”
The report did credit the EPA for several changes, including using print-on-demand at headquarters and renegotiating a print services contract to achieve savings.
The agency agreed with recommendations to decentralize decisions on printing and to establish milestones to comply with the prior report.