Person inserting paper into printer

GreenNY Specification: Copy Paper and Paper Supplies

Covered Products

This specification covers all copy paper and other paper supplies purchased by each covered State agency or authority (affected entity). This specification does not cover janitorial paper products, including toilet paper, paper towels, toilet seat covers, facial tissues, table napkins, and paper wipers, as well as related dispensing equipment. Janitorial paper products are covered by a separate specification.


Post-consumer recycled content (PCRC) – means only those products, packages or materials generated by a business or consumer which have served their intended end use as consumer items, and which have been separated or diverted from the waste stream for the purposes of collection and recycling as a secondary material feedstock. PCRC shall not include waste material generated by the manufacturer or converter during or after the completion of a manufacturing or converting process.

Pre-consumer recycled content - material that is derived from the manufacturing process as excess (e.g., scrap) and repurposed into new material, but has not reached an end-user.

Total recycled content – the combination of pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled content.

Process chlorine-free – recycled paper that is processed into new paper without the use of chlorine or chlorine derivatives.

Elemental chlorine-free – no chlorine is used, but other chemicals containing chlorine may be used in the bleaching process.

PVC (vinyl) – polyvinyl chloride plastics; applies in this specification to notebooks, notepads, and other paper products that may have a cover, backing, or binder.


White Copy Paper
The following specific actions are necessary when purchasing white copy paper.
All white copy paper purchased by each affected entity shall be composed of 100% PCRC and all white copy paper shall be process chlorine-free unless such products do not meet required form, function or utility, or the cost of the product is not competitive.

Other Paper Products
The following table displays the minimum required specifications and the stricter, preferred purchasing standards to meet when purchasing other paper products such as: non-white copy paper, manila file folders, legal pads, post-it notes, envelopes, map paper, and other office paper products.

  Minimum required standards Encouraged Standards
Recycled content Contain at least 30% PCRC Have 50-100% PCRC or have 100% total recycled content, including at least 30% PCRC
Chlorine content Be elemental chlorine-free Be process chlorine-free
Third-party certifications N/A Have Green Seal or Forest Stewardship Council certification
PVC content Be PVC free N/A

Publications and Vendors
All affected entity publications and vendors shall be in compliance with the above standards to the maximum extent practicable. Where paper products of this caliber are not available, or does not meet required form, function and utility, paper procurements shall use PCRC and be chlorine-free to the extent practicable. Non-recycled content shall be derived from a sustainably managed renewable resource to the extent practicable, unless the cost of the product is not competitive.



Packaging shall comply with Environmental Conservation Law section 37-0205. Packaging shall not contain inks, dyes, pigments, adhesives, stabilizers, or any other additives to which any lead, cadmium, mercury, or hexavalent chromium is intentionally added or contain incidental concentrations of lead, cadmium, mercury or hexavalent chromium which together are greater than 100 parts per million by weight (0.01%).

New York State encourages affected entities to adopt the following in order of preference when purchasing items that come in packaging:

  • Items that do not need packaging, or the packaging is part of the product.
  • Items that come in reusable packaging.
  • Items that come in bulk packaging.
  • Items that come in innovative packaging that reduces the amount of packaging.
  • Items that come in packaging that remains the property of the supplier and does not become the property of the end user under any circumstance or condition. The vendor shall certify that the packaging material will be reused, recycled, or composted, and managed in compliance with applicable local, state, and federal laws.
  • Items that come in packaging that maximizes recycled or biodegradable (compostable) content and/or meets or exceeds the minimum post-consumer content level for packaging in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines. Biodegradable products should only be used in areas where a composting facility exists that accept the material.
  • Items that come in Packaging that is recyclable or biodegradable (compostable). Biodegradable products should only be used in areas where a composting facility exists and will accept the material.