Identifying Greener Paper
Our use of paper continues to grow. According to the Environmental Paper Network,global paper use has increased by 400% in the last 40 years. The average American uses more than 700 pounds of paper every year - the highest paper usage figure per capita worldwide. In the last 20 years, the usage of paper products in the U.S. reached 208 million tons (up from 92 million), which is a growth of 126%. America uses 30% of the global paper supply, although we account for only 5% of the world’s population. There are environmental and public health impacts of paper usage. The pulp and paper industry is the fifth largest consumer of energy, accounting for 4% of all the world’s energy use. The share of the paper in municipal solid waste by weight is 35%. This webpage provides some resources to help you choose a safer and greener option.
- Consider alternatives to printed material (e.g. electronic distribution)
- Postconsumer recycled content (EPA requires its offices to purchase 100% post-consumer recycled copy paper)
- Processed without added chlorine for brightener. Look for paper with a brightness at 85 (anything higher could have been made with brighteners)
- Energy used during the manufacturing process
- Soy-based inks
- GSA's Green Procurement Compilation (GPC) is a comprehensive green purchasing resource designed for federal contracting personnel and program managers.
- EPA's Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG) for paper and paper products (federal purchasing requirements for recycled content).
- Northeast Recycling Council (NERC)’s Model Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Specifications and Purchasing Guidelines for paper, toner cartridges, and office supplies.
- Conservatree’sinformation about environmentally preferable paper, including information on selected paper products and information targeted at large-scale purchasers.