Santa Monica has joined some of the largest cities and counties in California in pledging to purchase only 100-percent post-consumer recycled copy paper.

Other cities that have made the pledge include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, Berkeley, Pasadena and Santa Barbara, as well as the County of Marin.

The environmental executives of these jurisdictions have joined together to form Green Cities California (GCC) to take action cooperatively and collectively to accelerate local, regional, national and international efforts to achieve sustainability, said officials.

Together, Green Cities California members annually purchase half a billion sheets of office paper, at a cost exceeding $5 million. By converting to 100-percent post-consumer recycled paper, the ten jurisdictions will see their governments save 67,000 trees, 8.6 million pounds of CO2 emissions, 19.6 million gallons of water and 11.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity, according to Green Cities.

“Although Santa Monica has it easy on this one, due to the fact that we made the switch from 50-percent to 100-percent post-consumer copy paper in 2004, we look forward to working with GCC members to push for greater reform in sustainable procurement among other pending initiatives,” said Craig Perkins, direc- tor of the Environmental and Public Works Management Department.

In addition to converting to 100-percent recycled paper, the cities and counties are also committed to increasing double-sided copying and using multi-function machines to store documents electronically rather than printing them. Savings from double-sided copying and reduced paper use can more than offset any additional costs of purchasing recycled paper, according to Green Cities.

Future collaborative campaigns will focus on the elimination of bottled water, purchase of local foods and carbon offsets and promoting manufacturer responsibility for solid and toxic waste.