Certifying Postconsumer Recycled-Content

Every product, material, good, or supply must have its percentage of postconsumer recycled-content material certified by the supplier.

Whether or not the product has recycled-content material, the supplier must certify the amount of postconsumer material within the item either on a form or through some other written verification. This postconsumer content certification provides the basis for obtaining compliant State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign (SABRC) products. Without the consistent use of the certification form or some other institutionalized procedure to verify the recycled-content information, agencies and departments will continue to struggle to meet their SABRC goals.

What’s Required?

State agencies, including agency’s contractors, must require all suppliers to certify the postconsumer recycled-content of all products offered or sold to the state. Contractors providing work and materials to state agencies are also required to certify the postconsumer recycled-content of the purchased materials and supplies used in their contract work if those items fall within the eleven product categories. Copies of the Postconsumer-Content Certification Form (CalRecycle Form 74 GuidanceWord | Fillable PDF) and/or other certification documentation must be obtained and kept on file. Periodically, agencies will be required to show their certifications to the Department of General Services’ Purchase Delegation auditors.

Per the Public Contract Code (PCC) 12205(b)(1) the supplier must certify the minimum, if not the exact percentage, of postconsumer material in the product. Postconsumer material comes from products that were bought by consumers, used, and then recycled. For example, a newspaper that has been purchased, recycled, and used to make another product would be considered postconsumer material.

For the Legislature Only

PCC 12310(b) and 12320(a) requires all contractors of the state agency to certify in writing to the contracting officer or their representative that the recycled paper products offered to the Legislature, or any agency within the Legislature, contain a minimum of 50 percent total recycled-content material, by fiber weight, with at least 30 percent of it as postconsumer material. For all other product categories, the postconsumer content must be no less than 10 percent postconsumer content. The state agency’s contractor must specify the minimum, if not the exact, percentage of both postconsumer and secondary material within the paper product. Note: Products that are refurbished, remanufactured, or reused are always considered SABRC compliant products, regardless of whether or not they meet the minimum content requirements.

How do I get the information?

Use the Postconsumer-Content Certification form. In order to meet the requirement for recycled-content certification, State agencies should provide their suppliers and contractors with the Postconsumer-Content Certification form (CalRecycle Form 74 GuidanceWord | Fillable PDF) . This form is a tool provided to help capture the required information.

The Supplier’s Catalog or website. A copy of a page within the supplier’s catalog or their website may be used for product certification. This will be an easier way to capture the postconsumer content of a product.

Product labeling and packaging. Product labeling and packaging may be used for product certification if the postconsumer content information is provided.

What about contracts…how do I specify what I need?

Utilize boilerplate language. To obtain product recycled-content information more efficiently, state agencies can develop boilerplate language (sample boilerplate language is provided below). This language should be put into the contract or solicitation among the paragraphs addressing other preferences such as the Small Business and the Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise, and/or included with the specifications on the purchase document. The language should be set apart, clearly labeled, and in a prominent location so that it is easily seen and read.

This language should be added to all contract documents including: Invitation for Bids; Service and Public Works Contracts; Delegation Release Orders Std. 65; Printing Requisitions Std. 67; Requests for Proposals; Informal Solicitations; Purchase Estimates Std 66; CAL-Card Orders.

Sample boilerplate language for procurement related contracts and forms.

Contract language: This language addresses the overall SABRC requirement including the supplier recycled-content certification.

“The State of California is required to purchase recycled-content products (RCPs) rather than nonrecycled products whenever price, quality, and availability are comparable. Furthermore, each state agency, including the agency’s contractor(s), is required to purchase RCPs in sufficient quantities to ensure that mandated RCP procurement goals are attained within eleven product categories. These eleven product categories and their respective minimum postconsumer-content requirements are outlined in Attachment [#]. In order to help state agencies identify all reportable purchases and all the reportable RCP purchases, suppliers and agency contractors are mandated by the Public Contract Codes to certify the minimum, if not the exact, postconsumer recycled-content material, in the products, materials, goods, and supplies offered or sold to the state.”

Recycled paper language: This language is for specifying print orders using recycled-content paper.

“The [agency name] requires that all printing jobs, including printing jobs through [state agency’s contractor], be printed on recycled content papers. Recycled-content papers are defined as papers containing a minimum of 30 percent postconsumer fiber by weight. All papers used in the performance of a print job for [agency name or agency’s contractor name] shall be recycled-content paper. The exact grade and postconsumer fiber content of the papers used for each print job shall be specified by [agency name or agency’s contractor name].”

The recycle logo or “chasing arrows” cannot be used on printed material unless the paper contains a minimum of 30 percent postconsumer material. If paper meets the 30 percent requirement, ask that the recycling logo be printed on the project.

Postconsumer-content certification: This language addresses supplier certification and can be included in any purchase order forms.

“The Public Contract Codes require every supplier and contractor to certify the minimum, if not the exact, postconsumer-content in the products, materials, goods, and supplies offered, sold, or used in contract work to the State. A Postconsumer-Content Certification Form 74: Word | Fillable PDF is provided in Attachment [#] for this purpose.”

Program Requirements

For more information contact: State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign, SABRC@calrecycle.ca.gov