Responsible Purchasing Network

Copy Paper: Policies

Educational institutions, cities, states, counties, and an increasing number of corporations have environmental paper policies addressing paper efficiencies, recycling, recycled content, and cleaner production methods.

Model Policy

Responsible Purchasing Network and Environmental Paper Network, Model Paper Purchasing Policy, 2007
Developed by the Environmental Paper Network in partnership with the Responsible Purchasing Network, this widely applicable policy covers paper efficiency, maximizing recycled content in paper purchases, choosing certified responsibly-sourced fiber, supporting cleaner production practices, maintaining recycling programs, and communicating to suppliers and partners.

Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy and Transportation Management, January 24, 2007
Section 2d requires federal government agencies to purchase a minimum of 30% PCW paper

Section 6002 of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. (Comprehensive Procurement Guide)
The EPA, mandated by the Resource Conservation Act, created the Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines in order to facilitate the purchasing of recycled content in paper by federal agencies. The EPA  recommends that federal agencies specify 30% post-consumer fiber and 30% recovered fiber when purchasing uncoated copy papers.


California Contract Code 12200. (State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign)
This contract calls for all State agencies to purchase recycled paper products, which must contain at least 50 percent postconsumer content, per section 12209(a) and (b) of this document. This policy established the the State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign, which helps state agencies implement the standards set by the contract code.

New York State, Executive Order No. 4: Establishing a State Green Procurement and Agency Sustainability Program, 2008
Requires that an interagency committee set goals for paper-use reductions and that all state agencies purchase only 100% PCW, process chlorine-free paper products.

South Dakota, Purchase of Environmentally Preferred Products (ES-08-01), 2008
Requires State agencies to purchase recycled content paper products from the state contract or from Central Supply if available.

Colorado, Executive Order: Greening of State Government: Goals and Objectives (D0011 07), 2007
Orders the creation of a Greening the Government Manager and a Greening the Government Council that will facilitate implementation of environmental preferable activities in energy, materials, and fleet management. Goals include, but are not limited to, achieving paper use reductions of 20% by fiscal year 2011-2012 using fiscal year 2005-2006 as a baseline
 Directs state governments to:
  • Reduce printing and copy paper use by at least 30 percent, beginning no later than July 1, 2010.
  • Purchase 100 percent recycled content paper for printing and copying by Dec. 31, 2009.
  • Recycle 100 percent of copy and printing paper in all buildings with 25 employees or more.
  • Restrict future leases or purchases of printers and copiers to models that will efficiently use 100 percent recycled content white sheet bond paper.
  • Give priority to purchasing from companies that produce paper in facilities powered by a renewable energy source.


City of Portland, OR, Sustainable Paper Use Policy, 2003
Initial goal was to reduce city paper consumption by 15% below 2001 levels by 2008 by incorporating best practices for paper use reduction, including purchasing duplex capable office electronics. Requires all paper products to, at minimum, meet the EPA CPG-RMAN recommendations and increasingly purchase products that are also PCF/TCF and contain virgin fiber from sustainably-managed sources

County of Multnomah, OR, Resolution Adopting Recycled Paper and Paint Policy, 2003

Sets goals to reduce paper consumption by 15% by 2008 from 2001 levels and switch all copier and general use paper products to PCF and a minimum 50% PCW.

County of Santa Clara, CA, Recycled Paper Policy, n.d.
The county government standard for purchasing paper: 50% recycled content with at least 10% PCW; purchasing agent is instructed to buy recycled paper when cost is comparable.
Educational Institution
Princeton's Paper Purchasing Policy, 2004
As of the Spring of 2004, all departments are required to order 100% PCW paper for all office needs, with exceptions for stationary and Department of Printing and Mailing due to special needs. The school negotiated with Boise Office Solutions to get a lower price on recycled paper.
University of Colorado, Student Union Bill, n.d.
Requires that all standard print jobs on white paper use 100% PCW paper. Non-standard jobs such as color paper, letterhead or bound volumes must have a minimum of 30% PCW content.

University of Oregon, Recycled Paper Policy, 2003
University Printing Services will provide and use chlorine-free recycled paper with 100% PCW content. All University paper products shall consist of at least 50% recycled content with at least 30% PCW content and be chlorine-free. Use of heavily dyed and neon papers is discouraged.

Ohio State University, Paper Policy, 2008

Commits to 30% PCW paper, encourages paper-saving strategies, and sets a 14% price premium as acceptable for preferable paper purchases.

Humboldt State University, Required Use of 100 Percent Recycled Paper, 2005
Requires all university departments to purchase exclusively 100% PCW office paper, exceeding the state mandate of a minimum of 30% PCW for 25% of all printing and writing paper purchases.
Washington University, Sustainable Paper Resolution, 2003
Student Union resolves to purchase paper with a minimum 30% PCW content that is processed chlorine-free; replace single-sided printers with duplex printers; utilize 100% PCW chlorine-free paper whenever possible; educate members to reduce paper and toner usage; and encourage other departments to do the same.


Bank of America, Paper Procurement Policy, 2005
The company will implement measures to reduce paper use and promote recycling. 90% of paper will be at least 20% PCW. Virgin pulp must be third-party certified from sustainably managed forests.

Office Depot, Environmental Paper Procurement Policy & Vision Statement, n.d.
Office Depot's policy, for both internal use and retail procurement, is a broad commitment to increase recycled content, particularly PCW, phase out elemental chlorine bleaching, promote certified sustainable forest management, protect natural forests and avoid GMO fiber.

Staples, Environmental Paper Procurement Policy, n.d.
Addresses internal paper consumption and retail procurement. The policy states a goal of an average 30% PCW in all paper products, and mandates the use of PCW paper for internal operations. It also commits the company to protecting endangered forests and promoting sustainable forestry practices.

Washington State, State Agencies -- Paper Conservation and Recycling, 2009

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