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Office Depot Nearly Doubles Average Recycled Content of Paper Used in Print Centers

Press release from the issuing company

DELRAY BEACH, Fla.--May 11, 2005-- Office Depot, Inc., a leading global provider of office products and services, continues to set the industry standard for its commitment to promote and use recycled paper. The Company announced today that in 2004 it achieved an average of 26.9% post consumer waste (PCW) recycled content in the paper it used at its nearly 1,000 North American Copy & Print Centers. This marks an increased performance of more than 90% over 2003 when the Company's Copy & Print Center average PCW recycled content was 14%. (Paper use is measured by weight.) According to Tyler Elm, Director of Environmental Affairs, Office Depot was the first company in the office supply industry to set annual quantified environmental performance objectives. In April 2003, the Company converted paper used in high-speed, self-service copy machines at all North American Copy & Print Centers to elemental chlorine-free, 35% PCW recycled content, and set a future goal of 30% average annual PCW recycled content for paper used at the Centers. "Office Depot is thrilled to have surpassed our 2004 goal of 20% average recycled PCW content for paper used in our Copy & Print Centers," Elm said. "The fact that we have reached such a high average so quickly is encouraging and a testament to our commitment to increase the environmental performance of our products and services. A goal of 30% once seemed extremely optimistic given our April 2003 performance of about 1%. However, we've seen our customers respond to the 'green' copy and printing services we offer as well as to the enhancements to our Office Depot-branded papers." Elm noted that Office Depot's EnviroCopy paper, made from 35% PCW content, is actually brighter than standard virgin paper. In June 2004, the Company enhanced its line of premium private brand papers by increasing the recycled content and brightness of many specialty products. Inkjet and Laser Paper - two heavyweight special purpose products - changed from 30% to 35% PCW recycled content. Color Laser and Color Copier Paper - two extra heavyweight and extra bright premium products - changed from 10% to 30% PCW recycled content. "Customers would often substitute virgin or low recycled content paper if their special purpose printing or copying needs required extra bright, heavy weight, or color copy paper," Elm added. "We responded by offering a full range of Office Depot-branded environmentally-preferable paper with increased smoothness, brightness, and recycled content, enabling our customers to meet their business needs while using an environmentally-preferable product." According to Tom Murray, Project Manager for Corporate Partnerships at Environmental Defense, "Using recycled rather than virgin paper conserves wood, water and energy, and helps reduce pollution and waste." Environmental Defense estimates that by using elemental chlorine-free, 35% PCW recycled content paper in all high-speed, self-service copy machines, in combination with an enhanced range of recycled content specialty papers, has helped Office Depot's North American Copy & Print Centers achieve the following environmental benefits in 2004: -- Conserved more than 44,000(a) trees, reducing the number of trees used by nearly 27% -- Saved more than 31 billion BTUs of energy - equivalent to the amount of annual energy needed to power more than 290 U.S. households -- Prevented more than 2,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalents) - equivalent to removing more than 350 cars from the road for a year -- Prevented the creation of 1,030 tons of solid waste, equivalent to the trash generated annually by more than 480 U.S. households -- Saved the equivalent amount of wastewater (more than 18 million gallons) discharged or released annually by more than 190 U.S. households Responsible Forest Management In addition to the results obtained through the use of recycled content paper at its Copy & Print Centers, Office Depot, along with paper producer NorskeCanada and professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, pioneered the industry's first independent chain-of-custody system for sourcing paper in North America. The non-proprietary system enables Office Depot to ensure that paper used in its printed marketing materials is "environmentally-preferable" and establishes a new level of transparency in paper procurement. The company's increased use of recycled content and practice of responsible forest management enabled Office Depot to receive the Outstanding Retailer Award announced in April 2005 as part of the inaugural "America's Marketplace Recycles!" awards program jointly sponsored by the International Council of Shopping Centers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (a) Number of trees calculated collaboratively by Conservatree and Alliance for Environmental Innovation/Environmental Defense, and assumes a mix of hardwoods and softwoods 6-8" in diameter and 40' tall, Source: Tom Soder, Pulp & Paper Technology Program, University of Maine, September 1991, as reported in Recycled Papers: The Essential Guide, by Claudia G. Thompson, The MIT Press, 1992. Editor's Note: For more information on Office Depot's environmental initiatives, visit www.officedepot.com/environment. For more information about Environmental Defense, visit www.environmentaldefense.org or call its media relations department at 212-505-2100.