Two stacks of paper

Office Paper

Proposed procurement goals: 
  • Track procurement and establish a paper reduction goal of 30% by a certain time
  • Purchase 100% recycled paper as the municipal standard for printing and copying
  • 100% of purchased office supplies meet US EPA's federal comprehensive procurement guidelines
  • 100% of purchased paper contains at least 50% post-consumer recycled content
    • Note: When specifying levels of recycled content, the minimum post-consumer recycled content cited should not be lower than EPA's comprehensive procurement guidelines
  • 100% of purchased paper is processed chlorine-free (PCF) 
  • 100% of purchased paper with non-recycled content is certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) 
  • 100% of purchased paper is acid-free 
Case studies and resources: 
  • Northeast Recycling Council’s (NERC) Model Specifications and Purchasing Guidelines for Environmentally Preferable Purchasing of Copy and Multipurpose paper
  • Seattle, WA’s Executive Order 01:05 Paper Waste Prevention directing City departments to 
    • Reduce paper use by 30% by the end of 2006;
    • Purchase 100% recycled paper as the city standard for printing and copying;
    • Adopt available technology that will create paper efficiencies;
    • Apply these paper waste prevention measures to procurement, consultant contracts, and contracts for printing, copying, and related services from outside vendors; and 
    • Include reporting of progress towards the 15% interim paper reduction goal in department accountability contracts.
  • Alameda County, CA negotiated a contract for 100% post-consumer recycled content copy paper. By creating a stand-alone all-green contract, they were not only able to lower prices on this environmentally preferable product, but they also created a simple way to track their purchases since the only product offered on this contract met their specification – so it all counted toward its “sustainable spend”. Each year the County’s avoidance of virgin paper prevents approximately 6,000 trees from being cut 107 down and reduces its greenhouse gas emissions equal to removing 200 cars from the road. Alameda credits these savings to its establishment of an all-green paper contract. This contract has also made it significantly easier to track the County’s accomplishments from year to year. RPN
  • Seattle, WA created a Paper Cuts program that has reduced its copy paper consumption by 40%, which enabled the City to cost-effectively purchase 100% recycled copy paper. RPN
  • Maryland: Where an EPA CPG does not exist for a product category, that product must contain a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled content or 50% total recycled content. 
  • Portland, OR, FY2013-14: The city Reported that 52% of its paper purchases contained 100% post-consumer recycled content and 47% contained 30-50% post-consumer recycled content; this saved 1,378 trees and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 54 metric tons of CO2 equivalent. RPN
  • Alameda County, CA's Office Paper Bid provides model bid language.