Paper Use Guidelines

The Paper-Newt Rules for Paper-Negation

To qualify for Paper-Newt paper-neutral certification, a business or organization must agree to the following terms regarding paper use:

Paper-Newt Paper-Neutral Certified businesses agree to the following:

Paper Purchasing & Use:

  1. Use 100% post-consumer recycled OFFICE PAPER wherever reasonably possible.  How do we define reasonable?  Well, 100% recycled paper is available from most good office supply stores, so there shouldn’t be many excuses for not being able to find it.  Paper-Newt certified businesses agree to be willing to pay up to a 100% premium over the cost of regular (non-recycled) paper to buy 100% post-consumer recycled paper or, in rare circumstances where suitable paper is not available, then pay up to a 100% premium to buy the next highest percent grade of recycled paper available.  Paper-Newt certified businesses also agree to pay for 100% recycled paper when having office paper printing done by third party printers.
  2. Use 100% post-consumer recycled (NON-REGULAR OFFICE) PAPER wherever reasonably possible.  This includes the printing of posters, business cards, pamphlets, flyers, forms and other business and promotional materials other than those printed on standard white 8.5×11 or 8.5×14 office paper.  What is considered reasonable in this case? – The willingness to spend up to a 250% premium over the cost of a comparable non-recycled paper equivalent.  For example, if 1000 non-recycled business cards cost $100, then a Paper-Newt certified business will be willing to pay $350 (i.e., $100 plus 250%) to buy the same number of 100% post-consumer recycled cards instead.  If the premium for 100% recycled materials is prohibitively expensive or not available, a Paper-Newt certified business will then pay up to a 250% premium to purchase the next highest percent content of recycled material possible.
  3. Offset its use of non-recycled paper by making a supplementary offset donation to qualified non-profit recipient organization(s) In cases where a Paper-Newt certified business chooses not to use 100% post-consumer recycled paper for a product (either by permissible choice or necessity), the business may instead elect to donate three times the equivalent weight of 100% recycled office paper to a qualified Paper-Newt non-profit recipient organization.  For example, a business buying 50 lbs worth of non-recycled flyers has the option to offset the environmental impact of its paper purchase by donating 150 lbs (i.e., the equivalent of about 30 reams) of 100% recycled office paper to a qualified charity or non-profit organization.
  4. Agree to use Paper-Newt certified suppliers for at least 80% of paper purchases (where service is available) and permit such suppliers to inform the Paper-Newt program of your organization’s paper use.  Use of non-Paper-Newt certified suppliers on a regular basis is possible, but only under certain circumstances and with the express written permission of the Paper-Newt program.

Paper Offsetting:

  1. Offset the environmental impact of the business’s total use of paper by donating a Paper-Newt qualifying amount of 100% post consumer recycled paper to a qualified non-profit or charity (with a minimum donation amount of $100 worth of recycled paper).  For example, if the business uses 10 cases of recycled paper in a year, and it donates 15 cases of recycled Paper-Newt paper to a qualified local charity that would otherwise use non-recycled paper, then the business qualifies to claim to be certified as being paper-negative. (A business using only 1000 sheets of paper a year is absolutely commendable, but a minimum $100 paper donation will be required to justify the cost of the program administration).
  2. Be willing to err on the side of being generous to the environment.  What does that mean?  It means that if there is a gray area, and it’s hard to tell if something qualifies, then a Paper-Newt certified organization will choose to be “overly green” instead of being “miserly green”.  For example, if a business estimates its annual office paper use to be between 20 and 30 cases of paper, it is willing to offset the 30 cases (to ensure that there is no doubt that its claims to be paper-neutral are legitimate and accurate).

Paper Conservation Policies & Practices

  1. Have an effective recycling program in place.  A business can’t brag that it is “environmentally responsible” because it uses 100% recycled paper if the business doesn’t also make sure that the paper it uses gets recycled itself.  Also, a recycling program is only effective if it’s actually used, so Paper-Newt certified paper-neutral businesses must promise to take their internal recycling programs seriously, and that includes recycling non-paper items too.
  2. Adopt paper use reduction practices.  The second of the 3+ R’s of responsible paper use, Reducing, is as important as recycling and using recycled paper.  Paper-Newt certified paper-neutral businesses commit to adopting (and practicing) paper reduction practices.  This can include policies and practices around printing on double-sided paper and not printing hard copies unless necessary.
  3. Adopt paper re-using practices.  Paper-neutral businesses also agree to practice the third of the 3+ R’s of paper use – Re-using.  Paper-Newt certified businesses must encourage the re-use of paper in the workplace, such as the use of discarded paper for scrap paper instead of using fresh blank pages.
  4. Demonstrate general paper and environmental responsibility.  And finally, the fourth element of the 3+ R’s of paper use, Paper-Newt certified businesses agree to be environmentally “Responsible” in general.  This includes using 100% recycled paper whenever possible, plus practicing the other 3 R’s of responsible paper use.  It also includes going above and beyond in other areas too.  Does the organization implement other environmental initiatives, like adopt energy efficient lighting, or does it purchase fair trade organic coffee, or support other charitable causes.  Paper-Newt participating businesses don’t have to do everything, but we do need to know they do more than just use recycled paper.