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Environment Canada buys new furniture, instead of....

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Apr 12, 2008
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real world

OTTAWA — The federal government's lead department on protecting the environment is opting to buy new office furniture instead of recycling and re-using several hundred work stations from a building under renovations, Postmedia News has learned.

Environment Canada spent about $141,000 over the past year to store the equipment during the renovations at the building in Gatineau, Que., according to the Ottawa-based company — Advanced Business Interiors — that is storing the work stations and related furniture.

But the federal department is now auctioning off the equipment — including cabinets, steel metal wall panels covered in fabric, working electrical outlets and wiring — on a government website, prior to a new round of shopping.

"I've been dealing with the product for 26 years," said Bill Toutant, president of the company. "This is like the BMW of furniture. It will last forever and is not obsolete. So to me, it's just a crying shame that it's being thrown out and could wind up being used for scrap steel."

Advanced Business Interiors, which specializes in refurbishing and recycling office equipment for businesses that want to reduce their environmental footprint, already gets about half of its business from various federal departments, but its top officials say they're puzzled at Environment Canada's reluctance to open a bidding process for recycled materials that they suggested would reduce waste and pollution while creating local jobs and helping the government to reduce its spending by 20 or 30 per cent.

"If the federal government is saying that . . . they're really not interested in recycling, I have to put together a new business plan here," said Toutant, who praised the City of Ottawa as a top client that buys recycled furniture.

Read more: http://www.canada.com/technology/Environment+Canada+spurns+recycling+opts+furniture/5168638/story.html#ixzz1TM98DR8N

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