United States
                     Environmental Protection
                                           Office of Solid Waste
                                           and Emergency Response
               June 1991
                     Office of Solid Waste
                     Fact  Sheet
                  EPA Guideline for Purchasing
                  Paper and Paper Products
   On June 22, 1988, EPA
issued a guideline for fed-
eral procurement of paper
and paper products contain-
ing recovered materials.
The purpose of the guideline
is to use 'the stimulus of
government procurement to
increase the use of these
products within both gov-
ernment and private sectors.
It requires all federal agen-
cies and all state and local
government agencies and
contractors that use federal
funds to purchase such
products to the maximum
extent practicable.

   Minimum Content

   EPA recommends that
procuring agencies set mini-
mum-content standards for
paper and paper products
containing recovered materi-
als. Agencies should set
their standards at the high-
est levels practicable, but no
lower than the levels shown
                           in Table 1. In the case of
                           printing and writing paper,
                           EPA recommends "waste
                           paper" minimum-content
                           standards; for other catego-
                           ries such as newsprint,
                           tissue, and packaging,
                           EPA recommends
                           post-consumer material
                           minimum-content stan-
                           dards. (See the definitions
                           at the end of this Fact
                             The paper guideline does
                           not indicate whether the
                           percentage of recovered-
                           material content is based on
                           the total weight of the paper
                           or on the total fiber weight.
                           In implementing the guide-
                           line, the Government Print-
                           ing Office (GPO) has based
                           the percentage of recovered-
                           material content on total
                           fiber weight. EPA supports
                           GPO's position on this mat-
                             At the time EPA issued
                           the guideline, it did not
                           recommend minimun-con-
                           tent standards for high-
                           speed copier paper and
and forms bond because of a
lack of availability of these
papers. Because their avail-
ability has increased, EPA
issued a Procurement Guide-
line Advisory on November
21,1990, stating that procur-
ing agencies should consider
revising their minimum-
content standards for high-
speed copier paper and forms
bond to a 50 percent "waste
paper" standard, as noted in
Table 1. In addition, procur-
ing agencies should consider
revising their minimum-
content standard for cotton
fiber paper from 25 percent
recovered cotton or linen fiber
to 75 percent recovered mate-
rial (not less than 25 percent
recovered cotton or linen fiber
and 50 percent waste paper),
as noted in Table 1.

 Other Specifications

  Beyond including mini-
mum-content standards in
agency procurement specifi-
cations, procuring agencies
should review their paper
                                                        Printed on Recycled Paper

                       Table 1

Paper and Paper Products

Offset printing
Mimeo and duplicator paper
Writing paper (stationery)
Office paper (e.g., note pads)
Paper for high-speed copiers
Forms bond, including computer
  paper and carbonless
Bond papers
Book papers
Ledger paper
Cover stock
Cotton fiber paper
Minimum Percent
of "Waste Paper"

     25 percent
     recovered cotton
     or linen fiber, plus
     50 percent "waste
'The percentage is obtained from Procurement Guidelines Advisory
 #2; the paper guideline did not recommend a percentage.
     Paper and Paper Products

     Tissue Products:
      Toilet tissue
      Paper napkins
      Paper towels
      Facial tissue
      Industrial wipers
     Unbleached packaging:
      Corrugated boxes
      Fiber boxes
      Brown papers (e.g., bags)
     Paperboard products,
      including folding cartons
     Pad backing
 Minimum Percent
 of Postconsumer
 Recovered Material




specifications to remove
subtle barriers to purchas-
ing paper containing recov-
ered material.  Paper prod-
ucts must meet all reason-
able performance specifica-
tions. Some performance
specifications, however, may
be more stringent than
necessary. For example, a
brightness specification for a
particular paper item may
exclude many papers con-
taining recovered materials
and thus may be unneces-
sarily stringent, considering
the use of that item.  Such a
specification should be

      GSA and GPO

   The principal federal
procuring agencies for paper
and paper products are
GPO and  the General Ser-
vices Administration

    Paper Specifications

   GSA reviewed and re-
vised 114  paper specifica-
tions used to procure a
variety of paper products for
the federal government.
These include towels,
napkins, bags, facial tissue,
shipping boxes, offset paper,
kraft wrap, and envelopes.

   The paper specifications
used by GPO are issued by
the Joint Committee on
Printing (JGP), a Congres-
sional oversight committee.

For most categories of
paper, the JCP superim-
poses EPA's recommended
minimum-content standards
on its existing specifications.
In June 1990, the JCP
issued four new specifica-
tions, for Recycled Offset
Book, Recycled Groundwood
Forms Bond, Recycled 25
percent B»ond, and Recycled
Plain Copier Xerographic.

   These new specifications
increased the minimum
content of "waste pap>er" for
these papers, reflecting the
fact that new products
containing recovered mate-
rial have become available
since the paper guideline
was issued.

  Affirmative Procurement

   Both GSA and GPO have
established affirmative
procurement programs for
paper containing recovered
material. They are actively
soliciting available products
containing recovered mate-
rial that are reasonably
priced, available within a
reasonable time period, and
that perform as specified.
   In the fall of 1990, GPO
added copier paper contain-
ing recovered material  to its
affirmative procurement
program, using the new JCP
specification 0-65. GPO has
established a Qualified
Products List for copier
paper containing recovered
material and has had some
success purchasing it for use
by federal agencies. In
December 1990, using the
new JCP specification, GSA
awarded contracts for copier
paper containing recovered

   GPO is promoting its
procurement program by
publishing advance notices
of quarterly paper solicita-
tions in Walden's Paper
Report and in the Commerce
Business Daily. The paper
solicitations highlight mini-
mum-content requirements
for recovered material. GPO
has also issued periodic
guidance to its commercial
printing contractors, ex-
plaining the implementation
details of its affirmative
procurement program.

   GSA is publishing no-
tices of solicitations in the
Commerce Business Daily.
These notices state that
there are minimum-content
requirements for recovered
material content and, in
some instances, specify the
minimum content required.
GSA publicizes to its cus-
tomers (i.e., federal agen-
cies) Market Tips, a monthly
newsletter, and Customer
Grams, a quarterly publica-
tion. In addition, GSA's
1991 Federal Supply Cata-
log indicates the recovered-
material content of the
products it stocks.

   Vendors to GPO and
GSA are required to certify
the percentage of recovered
material actually used in
performance of the contract
and must make their own
arrangements for obtaining
this information from the
mill. The certification then
becomes part of the contract
awarded to the successful

  Summary of Federal

•  From July 1, 1989,
   through Decembers,
   1990, GSA made 193
   awards for over 558
   paper products meeting
   EPA minimum-content
   standards and totaling

•  From August 1989
   through July 1990, 95
   percent of GPO's direct
   paper purchases met
   EPA minimum-content

• For the first six months
  of fiscal 1990, the overall
  average of EPA publica-
  tions/letterheads printed
  on paper meeting EPA
  minimum-content stan-
  dards exceeded 98 per-
   Possible Guideline

   EPA is evaluating revi-
sions to the recommended
"waste paper" minimum-
content standards for print-
ing and writing papers.
Among its options, EPA is
considering combined waste
paper and postconsumer-

content or de-inked waste
paper content standards,
and tightening the "waste
paper" definition to further
restrict the use of all paper
mill waste in counting to-
ward the minimum-content
   Further Information

   For further information
and to obtain copies of the
paper guideline, Procure-
ment Guideline Advisories,
and lists of mills and ven-
dors of recycled paper,
please contact EPA's pro-
curement guidelines hotline
at (703) 941-4452.

   Copies of GPO solicita-
tions and JCP specifications
may be obtained by writing
to: Director, Material Man-
agement Services, U.S.
Government Printing Office,
Room A332, Stop MMPP,
Washington, D.C. 20401.
   Copies of GSA specifica-
tions may be obtained by
writing to: Business Service
Center, U.S. General Ser-
vices Administration, 26
Federal Plaza, New York,
N.Y. 10278, or by calling
(212) 264-1234.
   Mill broke means any paper waste generated in a
   paper mill prior to completion of the papermaking
   process (that is, those manufacturing operations up to
   and including the cutting and trimming of the paper
   machine reel into small rolls or rough sheets). It is
   usually returned directly to the pulping process. Mill
   broke is excluded from the definition of "waste paper."
   Postconsumer materials means any of the follow-

      (1) Paper, paperboard, and fibrous wastes from
   retail stores, office buildings, homes, and so forth, after
   they have passed through their end usage as a con-
   sumer item, including: Used corrugated boxes, old
   newspapers, old magazines, mixed waste paper,
   tabulating cards, and used cordage; and

      (2) All paper, paperboard,  and fibrous wastes that
   enter and are collected from municipal solid waste.
                 "Waste paper" means any of the following:

                    (1) All postconsumer materials and

                    (2) Manufacturing and other wastes such as:

                    0  Dry paper and paperboard waste gener-
                       ated after the completion of the paper
                       making process, including: envelope
                       cuttings, bindery trimmings, and other
                       paper and paperboard waste, resulting
                       from printing, cutting, forming, and
                       other converting operations; bag, box,
                       and carton manufacturing wastes; and
                       butt rolls, mill wrappers, and rejected
                       unused stock; and

                    0  Finished paper and paperboard from
                       obsolete inventories of paper and paper
                       board manufacturers, merchants,
                       wholesalers, dealers, printers, converters,
                       or others.