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Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines for Paper and Paper Products

EPA designated the following paper products under the Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG) program to promote the use of materials recovered from municipal solid waste (MSW). Recycled-content recommendations for each item are listed below.


Printing and Writing Papers

Printing and writing papers comprise one of the largest categories of paper and paper products. Examples include copier paper, stationery, computer printout, offset paper and note pads. Printing and writing paper can be either coated or uncoated.

EPA's Recovered Materials Advisory Notice (RMAN) recommends that procuring agencies establish minimum content standards expressed as a percentage of recovered fiber, including a percentage of postconsumer fiber. For most grades, EPA recommends postconsumer fiber content. Postconsumer fiber does not include newsstand returns or printer's overruns.

Recommended Recovered Fiber Content Levels for Uncoated Printing and Writing Papers1
Product Postconsumer Fiber (%) Total Recovered Fiber (%)
Reprographic Paper (e.g., mimeo and duplicator paper, high-speed copier paper, and bond paper) 30 30
Offset Paper (e.g., offset printing paper, book paper, and bond paper) 30 30
Tablet Paper (e.g., offset paper such as note pads, stationery, and other writing papers) 30 30
Forms Bond (e.g., forms, computer printout paper, and ledger) 30 30

Envelope Paper

Wove
Kraft, white, and colored (including manila)
Kraft, unbleached
Excludes custom envelopes

30
10-20
10
30
10-20
10
Cotton Fiber Paper (e.g., cotton fiber papers, ledger, stationery and matching envelopes, and other writing papers) 30 30
Text & Cover Paper (e.g., cover stock, book paper, stationery and matching envelopes, and other writing paper) 30 30
Supercalendered 10 10
Machine Finish Groundwood 10 10
Papeteries 30 30
Check Safety Paper 10 10

¹Most of these items can be made from a variety of printing and writing papers, depending on the performance characteristics of the item. Some of the papers are a commodity-type and some are specialty papers. EPA recommends that procuring agencies determine the performance characteristics required of the paper prior to establishing minimum content standards. Bond, ledger or stationery made from cotton fiber paper or a text & cover paper, for example, have different characteristics than similar items made from commodity papers.

Recommended Recovered Fiber Content Levels for Coated Printing and Writing Papers
Product Postconsumer Fiber (%): Recovered Fiber (%):
Coated Printing Paper 10 10
Carbonless 30 30
Recommended Recovered Fiber Content Levels for Bristols
Product Postconsumer Fiber (%) Total Recovered Fiber (%)
File Folders (manila and colored) 30 30
Dyed Filing Products 20 20-50
Cards (index, postal, and other, including index sheets) 20 50
Pressboard Report Covers and Binders 20 50
Tags and Tickets 20 50

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Vendors, Researchers and Related Organizations

To locate vendors, researchers and other organizations about recycled content below, use the tabs below. Click on your matching area of interest for a collection of related links.

The Report on the Availability of Printing and Writing Papers Listed in the CPG Paper RMAN fulfills the requirement in the implementing instructions of Executive Order 13423, March 29, 2007, for EPA to report to the Federal Environmental Executive on the availability of printing and writing paper with recycled content. This report can serve as a good resources to those looking to buy recycled-content paper.

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Newsprint

Newsprint is a type of groundwood paper generally used to print newspapers. Recovered-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.

EPA's Recovered Materials Advisory Notice (RMAN) recommends that procuring agencies establish minimum content standards expressed as a percentage of recovered fiber, including a percentage of postconsumer fiber. For most grades, EPA recommends postconsumer fiber content. Postconsumer fiber does not include newsstand returns or printer's overruns.

Recommended Recovered Fiber Content Levels for Newsprint
Product Postconsumer Fiber (%) Total Recovered Fiber (%)
Newsprint 20-85 20-100

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Commercial/Industrial Sanitary Tissue

Sanitary tissue products include bathroom and facial tissue, paper towels, napkins and general-purpose industrial wipers. They are generally sold in rolls or sheets and are used in personal care, food service and cleaning applications. The grades of sanitary tissue products covered in the CPG are manufactured for use by restaurants, hotels, schools, government agencies and other similar commercial and institutional buyers. Some recycled-content sanitary tissue products are softer, stronger and more absorbent than others.

EPA's Recovered Materials Advisory Notice (RMAN) recommends that procuring agencies establish minimum content standards expressed as a percentage of recovered fiber, including a percentage of postconsumer fiber. For most grades, EPA recommends postconsumer fiber content. Postconsumer fiber does not include newsstand returns or printer's overruns.

Recommended Recovered Fiber Content Levels for Commercial/Industrial Sanitary Tissue Products
Product Postconsumer Fiber (%) Total Recovered Fiber (%)
Bathroom Tissue 20-60 20-100
Paper Towels 40-60 40-100
Paper Napkins 30-60 30-100
Facial Tissue 10-15 10-100
General Purpose Industrial Wipers 40 40-100

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Paperboard and Packaging

The paperboard and packaging category covers two major types of board: "containerboard" used to make corrugated shipping containers, and "paperboard" used in a wide variety of packaging applications such as folding cartons, blister cards, beverage carriers, book and report covers, mailing tubes, video cassette boxes and others.

Containerboard (corrugated board) is actually a composite paperboard made by sandwiching fluted "corrugating medium" in between layers of linerboard. Linerboard, made primarily from both virgin and recovered fiber from old corrugated containers (OCC), is used to make the inner and outer walls of a box. The inside, fluted medium layer in the middle is made from postconsumer recovered fiber from OCC, old newspapers (ONP), used office paper and mixed papers or virgin fiber.

Paperboard containing recovered fiber is a multi-ply material, formed in layers of recovered fiber. Often grey in appearance, a white top layer made from recovered office paper is often used to provide a clean printing surface. Paperboard mills use more recovered fiber than any other segment of the paper industry to manufacture a wide variety of product packaging (folding cartons), beverage carriers, mailing tubes, industrial paperboard (cores, drums, tubes, and cans), and many other items. Kraft padded mailers, Kraft bags, and wrapping paper made from OCC also fall under the packaging category.

EPA's Recovered Materials Advisory Notice (RMAN) recommends that procuring agencies establish minimum content standards expressed as a percentage of recovered fiber, including a percentage of postconsumer fiber. For most grades, EPA recommends postconsumer fiber content. Postconsumer fiber does not include newsstand returns or printer's overruns.

Recommended Recovered Fiber Content Levels for Paperboard and Packaging Products
Product Postconsumer Fiber (%) Total Recovered Fiber (%)

Corrugated containers: 1

- (<300 psi)

- (300 psi)

25-50

25-30

25-50

25-30

Solid Fiber Boxes 40 40
Folding Cartons 2 40-80 100
Industrial paperboard (e.g., tubes, cores, drums, and cans) 45-100 100
Miscellaneous (e.g., pad backs, covered binders, book covers, mailing tubes, protective packaging) 75-100 90-100
Padded mailers 5-15 5-15
Carrierboard 3 10-15 10-100
Brown papers (e.g., wrapping paper and bags) 5-20 5-40

1The recovered fiber and postconsumer fiber content is calculated from the content of each component relative to the weight each contributes to the total weight of the box.
2The recommended content ranges are not applicable to all types of paperboard used in folding cartons. Cartons made from solid bleached sulfate or solid unbleached sulfate contain no or small percentages of postconsumer fiber, depending on the paperboard source.
3Carrierboard made from unbleached kraft contains up to 25 percent recovered fiber, while carrierboard made from recycled paperboard contains up to 100 percent recovered fiber.
 

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Miscellaneous Paper Products

Tray liners currently are the only product in the Miscellaneous Paper category. Sometimes referred to as "doilies" or "place mats," tray liners are specialty paper items designed to line food service trays in institutional and commercial restaurants and cafeterias in schools, hospitals, prisons and private facilities.

EPA's Recovered Materials Advisory Notice (RMAN) recommends that procuring agencies establish minimum content standards expressed as a percentage of recovered fiber, including a percentage of postconsumer fiber. For most grades, EPA recommends postconsumer fiber content. Postconsumer fiber does not include newsstand returns or printer's overruns.

Recommended Recovered Fiber Content Levels for Miscellaneous Paper Products
Product Postconsumer Fiber (%) Total Recovered Fiber (%)
Tray Liners 50-75 100

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