9 Steps to Buying Responsible Paper
- Form a Team
- Establish Your Baseline
- Set Goals
- Develop a Policy
- Use Paper Efficiently
- Purchase Environmentally Preferable Paper
- Close the Loop
- Track Progress
- Spread the Word
Step 1. Form a Team
As a first step, the team should educate themselves on issues associated with paper purchasing, including myths about environmentally preferable paper. This information will help the team determine strategies to address the use and procurement of paper and paper products and prepare them to respond to questions about new policies and procedures.
For more information on paper myths, see MYTHS
Step 2: Establish Your Baseline
Step 3: Set Goals
Step 4: Develop a Policy
For a simple sample policy, see POLICY.
Step 5: Use Paper Efficiently
- Substituting electronic communications for printing.
- Purchasing copiers, printers, and fax machines that can be set to default to double-sided printing.
- Reusing products such as file folders, storage boxes, and paper printed on one side.
- Reducing the basis weight and trim size of printed pieces.
- Rethinking design processes to minimise printing and copying waste.
- Minimizing unsolicited mail, both sent and received.
- Minimizing overruns and maximizing sell-through for published materials.
For additional strategies to use paper efficiently, see SAVE PAPER
Step 6: Purchase Environmentally Preferable Paper
Buy papers that maximize recycled content, originate from responsibly-managed forests, and employ cleaner production practices. High performance products are now available for most applications. Look for products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an independent third-party organisation that verifies that fibre originates from sustainable sources.
For large organisations with established purchasing agreements that are unable to source papers listed in the EcoPaper Database, confirm with suppliers and manufacturers the source of any virgin fibre content in paper. Include environmental attributes in your specifications for paper and paper products, and give preference to suppliers and manufacturers that establish a credible “chain of custody” tracking system to reliably identify the origin of fibre sources.
For model environmental specifications, see SPECS.
Some purchasers may need further assistance working with their suppliers to verify the fibre content of the paper and paper products they purchase. For a list of EPN member organisations by sector that can provide additional help, see HELP
Step 7: Close the Loop
For suggestions on implementing recycling procedures in your organisation, CLICK HERE