United States
Environmental Protection
Solid Waste
and Emergency Response
July 1998
1998 Buy-Recycled Series
Paper Products
EcoPurchasing means
considering attributes
such as
recycled content
repair ability
before you buy
a product.
Ten years ago, hardly any recycled-content
printing and writing paper existed. Now,
it's readily available, along with recycled-
content newsprint, paper towels, and corrugated
packaging—and at higher quality and more
competitive prices than ever before. That's in
part due to government initiatives since 1988,
when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) issued the Procurement Guideline for Paper and Paper Products
Containing Recovered Materials. The 1988 paper guideline's buy-recycled
requirements are now part of EPA's Comprehensive Procurement
Guideline (CPG).
To make it easier to buy recycled, EPA updates the CPG each year.
Through the CPG, EPA designates items that must contain recycled
content when purchased by federal, state, and local agencies or by
government contractors using appropriated federal funds. Among these
items, EPA has designated many paper products. EPA's research shows
that the items designated in the CPG are of high quality, widely available,
and cost competitive with virgin products. EPA also issues a non-
regulatory companion piece—the Recovered Materials Advisory Notice
(RMAN)—that recommends levels of recycled content for these items. In
May 1995, EPA published the Paper Products RMAN and in 1998, EPA
updated the recommendations for paper products in the Paper Products
Although federal agencies have made great strides in buying recycled-
content paper, more can be done. After all, paper is still the most
predominant material in our trash. So the next time you stock up on
paper for your printer, copy machine, cafeteria, or restrooms, buy
recycled. By doing this, you're helping create a demand for the used
office paper, old newspapers, and boxes we recycle every day.
Printed on paper that contains at least 20 percent postconsumer fiber.

What Is The CPG?
agencies to
give preference
to items made
from recovered
Recycling is more than just
dropping off your cans, bottles,
and newspapers at the curb or at
the local collection facility. Diverting
recyclables from the waste stream is
only the first step in the recycling
process. The second step occurs when
companies use these recyclables to
manufacture new products. The third
step comes when you purchase products
made from recovered materials. That's
how we close the loop.
To encourage the purchase of recycled
products, the Resource Conservation and
Recovery Act (RCRA) requires agencies to
buy recycled products. In addition,
President Clinton signed Executive Order
12873 in October 1993, which called for
an increase in the federal government's
use of recycled-content products.
Developed in response to these directives,
the CPG requires federal agencies to give
preference to EPA-designated items made
with recovered materials. This, in turn,
supports recycling markets and allows
recycling to continue to expand.
Issued in May 1995, the first CPG
designated 19 new products and
incorporated 5 previously designated
items (including paper and paper
products) in 7 product categories.
Procuring agencies are required to
purchase these items with recycled
content. (A procuring agency is any
federal, state, or local agency, or
government contractor, that uses
appropriated federal funds to purchase
products.) A CPG update (CPG II) was
published in November 1997, but
designated no new paper products. This
fact sheet updates the information
provided in the 1996 Buy Recycled Series.
If your agency spends more than
$10,000 per year on a product designated
in the CPG, you are required to purchase
it with the highest recycled-content level
practicable. The CPG also applies to lease
contracts covering designated items.
By June 22, 1989, your agency was
required to develop an affirmative
procurement program (or modify its
existing program) to incorporate buy-
recycled requirements for paper and
paper products. It is not too late to
develop your affirmative procurement
program if you have not already done
so. This effort might involve reviewing
your specifications for these products
and eliminating provisions that pose
barriers to procuring them with recycled
content (such as aesthetic requirements
unrelated to product performance).
The CPG acknowledges, however,
that specific circumstances might arise
that preclude the purchase of products
made with recovered materials. You
may purchase designated items that do
not contain recovered materials if you
determine that: (1) the price of a given
designated item made with recovered
materials is unreasonably high, (2)
there is inadequate competition (not
enough sources of supply), (3) unusual
and unreasonable delays would result
from obtaining the item, or (4) it does
not meet your agency's reasonable
performance specifications.

How Do I Purchase Recycled-Content Paper Products?
Key Terms
Before buying recycled-content
paper products meeting EPA's
recommendations, you'll need to
understand some important terms.
Postconsumer fiber:
•	Is the paper recovered in our homes
and offices.
•	Does not include newsstand returns
and printers' overruns.
Recovered fiber:
•	Includes scrap generated at mills after
the end of the papermaking process;
converting and printing scrap;
newsstand returns and printers'
overruns; obsolete inventory of mills,
printers, and others; damaged stock;
and postconsumer fiber.
•	Is not waste. EPA has replaced the
term waste paper used in the 1988
guidelines with recovered fiber, to
acknowledge that this material is a
valuable resource.
•	Must be repulped. Paper cannot
simply be re-cut or repackaged to
count as recovered-content paper.
•	Does not include forest residues
such as sawdust and wood chips
from forestry operations.
Mill broke:
•	Is scrap generated in a mill prior to
the completion of the papermaking
•	EPA recommends that you allow mills
to count the recycled-content portion of
mill broke. You should not count the
nonrecycled-content portion, however.
The Paper Products RMAN
recommends recycled-content
levels that you can look for
when purchasing paper products, as
shown in the chart on pages 4 and 5.
Use EPA's RMAN recommendations as
a starting point. The recommendations
are based on market research to
identify recycled-content products that
are commercially available.
Rather than just one level of recycled
content, the RMAN recommends ranges
for many paper products that reflect
what is currently available in the
United States. Because the recycled
content of paper products varies, you
should contact local paper mills or
merchants to determine product
availability. Try to purchase paper
containing the highest content that is
available to you.
When buying paper other than
printing and writing paper, specify that
you want paper "containing X percent
recovered fiber, including Y percent
postconsumer fiber." (For most printing
and writing papers, you can simply say
you're looking for 30 percent
postconsumer content.)
In addition, make sure that you
measure recovered and postconsumer
fiber content as a percentage of the
weight of all fiber in the paper, not as a
percentage of the total weight of the
sheet. (The total weight also includes the
weight of dyes, fillers, and water used in
the manufacturing process.)
levels to look for
when purchasing
paper products.

RMAN Levels for Paper Products
Content (%)
Printing and Writing Papers
Business papers such as bond, electrostatic, copy,
mimeo, duplicator, and reproduction
Used for book publishing, commercial printing,
direct mail, technical documents, and manuals
Office paper such as note pads and notebooks
Forms bond
Bond type papers used for business forms such as
continuous, cash register, sales book, unit sets, and
computer printout, excluding carbonless
Kraft, white and colored (including manila)
Kraft, unbleached
Excludes custom envelopes
Cotton fiber
High-quality papers used for stationery, invitations,
currency, ledgers, maps, and other specialty items
Text and cover
Premium papers used for cover stock, books, and
stationery and matching envelopes
Groundwood paper used for advertising and mail
order inserts, catalogs, and some magazines
Machine finished
Groundwood paper used in magazines and catalogs
Used for invitations and greeting cards
Check safety
Used in the manufacture of commercial and
government checks
Used for annual reports, posters, brochures, and
magazines. Have gloss, dull, or matte finishes
Used for multiple impact copy forms
File folders
Manila or colored
Dyed filing products
Used for multicolored hanging folders and wallet files
Index and card stock
Used for index cards and postcards
High-strength paperboard used in binders and
report covers
Tags and tickets
Used for toll and lottery tickets, licenses, and
identification and tabulating cards

Groundwood paper used in newspapers
Commercial Sanitary Tissue Products
Bathroom tissue
Paper towels
Paper napkins
Facial tissue
industrial wipers
Used in rolls or sheets
Used in rolls or sheets
Used in food service applications
Used for personal care
Used in cleaning and wiping applications
Paperboard and Packaging Products
Corrugated containers
(<300 psi)
(300 psi)
Solid fiber boxes
Folding cartons
Industrial paperboard
Padded mailers
Brown papers
Used for packaging and shipping a variety of
Used for specialized packaging needs such as
dynamite packaging and army ration boxes
Used to package a wide variety of foods,
household products, cosmetics,
pharmaceuticals, detergent, and hardware
Used to create tubes, cores, cans, and drums
Includes "chipboard" pad backings, book
covers, covered binders, mailing tubes, game
boards, and puzzles
Made from kraft paper that is usually brown
but can be bleached white
A type of folding carton designed for multi-
pack beverage cartons
Used for bags and wrapping paper
Miscellaneous Paper Products
Tray liners
Used to line food service trays. Often contain
printed information
Content (%

How Do I Purchase Recycled-Content Paper Products? (Continued)
Remember to
content papers
in printing and
Buying Tips
To make it even easier to buy
recycled-content paper products,
EPA offers the following
purchasing tips for the various paper
product categories outlined in the RMAN.
Printing and writing papers comprise
one of the largest categories of paper and
paper products. Examples include
stationery, computer printout paper, note
pads, copier paper, and offset paper.
Printing and writing papers can be either
uncoated or coated.
When buying printing and writing
paper, remember to:
•	Work with your printer. Different papers
exhibit differences in performance and
printability. Some printers may first
want to test certain papers with a
particular ink. Printers can also help you
select papers based on how they will be
used (i.e., whether they will be folded,
die-cut, or made into self-mailers).
•	Work with your graphic designer. Some
papers are better than others for certain
design needs. Make sure both the
designer and printer agree that the paper
you choose will meet your expectations.
•	Consider the environmental
ramifications of your purchasing
decisions. Papers with certain
characteristics such as deep colors,
coatings, or groundwood content might
not be recyclable in your existing office
paper recycling program or might require
changes to the program. Consider the
effects of your paper purchases before
deciding to purchase a specific paper.
Newsprint is a type of groundwood paper
generally used to print newspapers.
Recycled-content newsprint is usually
manufactured from fiber recovered from
old newspapers and magazines. The
federal government uses newsprint for
printing the Federal Register, Congressional
Record, and other publications.
When purchasing newsprint, consider
these helpful hints:
•	Pay attention to newsprint's basis
weight. Basis weight is the weight in
pounds of a ream of paper cut to a
specified size. Different weights hold
up better in different presses.
Recycled-content newsprint ranging
from 25 to 32 pounds generally
performs well. The U.S. Government
Printing Office specifies 28 pound
recycled-content newsprint.
•	Consider your requirements for the
newsprint you're buying. Recycled-
content newsprint manufacturers are
making products that meet their
clients' performance requirements (e.g.,
printability, brightness, cleanliness,
and opacity).
•	Determine whether newsprint is
recyclable in your existing recycling
program. Some office paper recycling
programs do not accept groundwood
papers such as newsprint. Find out
whether yours does before you buy

Sanitary tissue products include
bathroom and facial tissue, paper towels,
napkins, and general-purpose industrial
wipers. When purchasing these
•	Avoid misconceptions about softness,
absorbency, and strength. Some
recycled-content sanitary tissue
products are softer, stronger, and more
absorbent than others. Consider your
aesthetic and functional requirements
for tissue products before purchasing a
specific product.
•	Remember to review your janitorial
supply contracts because commercial
tissue products are often purchased
through contractors. Make sure your
supply contracts specify recycled-
content, not virgin, products.
•	When changing brands, consider other
factors that could influence your
purchasing decision. For example,
when switching from sheet to roll
paper towels, you may incur costs to
replace dispensers or fixtures if such
costs are not borne by the supplier.
Paperboard and packaging is a broad
category of paper products that includes
corrugated containers, folding cartons,
book and report covers, mailing tubes,
video cassette boxes, paper bags, and
wrapping paper. They can be
manufactured with a wide variety of
recovered fibers including old
newspapers, old corrugated containers,
mixed papers, and sorted white office
paper. In fact, paperboard mills use more
recovered fiber than any other segment
of the paper industry.
When purchasing recycled-content
paperboard and packaging:
•	Remember that you can print on recycled
boxes, not just on virgin, bleached boxes.
•	Be aware that you can use recycled
boxes in food applications and still
meet Food and Drug Administration
whether your
program includes
newsprint and

How Do I Get More Information?
Information Available from EPA
This fact sheet and the following publications on buying
recycled products are available in electronic format on
the Internet at
hw/procure.htm. Use Internet e-mail to order paper
copies of documents. Include the requestor's name and mailing
address on all orders. Address e-mail to: rcra-docket@ Text of the following Federal Register notices can
be found at Search by
specific day, by keywords, or by accessing the Government Printing
Office database.
Paper copies also may be ordered by calling the RCRA Hotline.
Callers within the Washington Metropolitan Area must dial 703
412-9810 or TDD 703 412-3323 (hearing impaired). Long-distance
callers may call 800 424-9346 or TDD 800 553-7672. The RCRA
Hotline operates weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., e.s.t.
~	Federal Register notices establishing the CPG (60 FR
21370/EPA530-Z-95-006), May 1, 1995, the Paper Products
RMAN (60 FR 26986/EPA530-Z-96-005), May 29, 1996, and
the Paper Products RMAN II (63 FR 31214), June 8, 1998.
~	Availability of Uncoated Printing and Writing Papers
Containing 30 Percent Postconsumer Fiber (EPA530-R-98-
006). This document lists U.S. paper manufacturers that use
30 percent postconsumer fiber to produce uncoated printing
and writing papers, as stipulated in the Executive Order 12873.
~	EPA Expands Comprehensive Procurement Guideline
(EPA530-F-97-049). This four-page fact sheet provides
general information about the CPG and the development of
affirmative procurement programs.
~	Summary of Comments on the Proposed Paper Products
RMAN (EPA530-R-96-003) and Final Paper Products
RMAN—Response to Public Comments (EPA530-R-96-
004). These background documents to the May 1995 Paper
Products RMAN summarize comments EPA received on the
draft RMAN and EPA's response to those comments.
The following lists of recycled-content paper manufacturers are
also available from EPA:
~	Mills Which Manufacture Printing and Writing Paper, Computer
Paper, Office Paper, Envelopes, Bristois, and Coated Printing
and Writing Papers Using Recovered Paper (EPA530-B-97-008).
~	Mills That Produce Newsprint Containing Postconsumer
Recovered Paper (EPA530-B-97-010).
Mills That Produce Tissue Products Containing Recovered
Paper (EPA530-B-97-009).
Other Sources of Information
¦	and 12995 (March 28,1996). Copies of these
Presidential Executive Orders are available from
the Executive Office of the President Publications
Distribution Service at 202 395-7332.
~	U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). GSA's
Environmental Products Guide is designed to help
procurement officials identify environmentally preferable
products and services. It contains more than 1,500 paper and
paper products containing recovered materials. For a copy of
the guide, contact GSA, Centralized Mailing List Service
(7CPNL), 401 West Felix Street, P.O. Box 6477, Fort Worth,
TX 76115. Phone: 817 334-5215. Fax: 817 334-5227.
~	U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). GPO provides a
variety of recycled-content paper products to federal agencies
to meet their printing needs. For more information about the
paper products available from GPO, contact Doris Reynolds,
Printing Specialist, U.S. GPO, Paper and Materials Control
Section, Stop POL, North Capitol and H Streets, NW.,
Washington, DC 20401. Phone: 202 512-0241.
~	The Official Recycled Products Guide. This directory lists more
than 5,000 manufacturers and distributors of recycled-content
products. For more information, contact the Recycling Data
Management Corp., P.O. Box 577, Ogdensburg, NY 13669.
Phone: 800 267-0707.
~	Recycling at Work Campaign. The Recycling at Work
Campaign has published several guidebooks on setting up and
promoting office buy-recycled and recycling programs. For
more information, contact the Recycling at Work Campaign,
1620 Eye Street, NW., Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20006.
Phone: 202 293-7330. Fax: 202 429-0422.
~	Jaakko Poyry Recycled Gradefinder. This biannual publication
provides a comprehensive, up-to-date directory of almost 1,000
brands of recycled-content paper. Entries include brand name,
manufacturer, grade, postconsumer content, brightness, and
basis weights. A one-year subscription costs $90. To order,
contact Ronni Schram, Jaakko Poyry Consulting, Inc., 580 White
Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591-5183. Phone: 800 872-5792,
Ext. 325. Fax: 914 332-4411.
In addition, contact your state solid waste agency for information about local and regional businesses
that produce or distribute recycled-content paper products.
United States
Environmental Protection Agency
401 M Street, SW. (5306W)
Washington, DC 20460
Official Business
Penalty for Private Use