Recycled-Content Paper Requirements

Beginning January 1, 2022, SB 1383 requires jurisdictions (cities, counties, cities and counties, or special districts that provide solid waste collection services) to purchase recycled-content paper products that are recyclable.

This builds upon existing laws to purchase products that contain minimum recycled content, and adds requirements on product recyclability and recordkeeping.

As examples, these product types may include, but are not limited to:

File folders in a filing cabinet

Office Supplies

  • File folders
  • Hanging file folders
  • White wove envelopes
  • Manila envelopes
  • Index cards
  • Cartons
  • Wrapping
  • Packaging
  • Corrugated boxes

Writing and printing papers.

Writing and Printing Papers

  • Copy
  • Xerographic
  • Watermark
  • Cotton fiber
  • Offset
  • Note pads
  • Computer printout paper
  • Writing tablets
  • Other uncoated writing papers

Scheduling planner.

Printed Materials

  • Calendars
  • Brochures
  • Reports
  • Magazines
  • Publications
  • Posters
  • Newsprint
  • Book paper
  • Forms

Paper towel dispenser in public bathroom.

Paper Janitorial Supplies

  • Toilet paper
  • Toweling
  • Facial tissue
  • Toilet seat covers

Purchasing Guidance

Jurisdictions must ensure that they are purchasing paper products and printing and writing papers that meet the following SB 1383 requirements:

  • Minimum recycled content and recyclability (described in further detail below, under the sections “Recycled-Content Requirements” and “Recyclability Requirements”)
  • Written certification and other verification from product vendors, as applicable, certifying that the products meet the recycled-content and recyclability requirements.

Jurisdictions must maintain records certifying the minimum recycled content and recyclability of paper purchases. CalRecycle has developed an optional Recycled-Content and Recyclable Paper Certification form, which may be used by vendors to certify one or both claims and may help jurisdictions meet their recordkeeping requirements. Jurisdictions have two options for maintaining this documentation in their Implementation Record:

Option 1: Product Vendor Certification

Written documentation from the product vendor certifying:

  • The products are eligible to be labeled with an unqualified recyclable label, meaning that at least 60 percent of consumers or communities where the items are sold have access to recycling facilities for the products
  • The minimum percentage, if not the exact percentage, of postconsumer material in the products

Option 2: Product Vendor Certification and Other Verification

  • Written documentation from the product vendor certifying the products are eligible to be labeled with an unqualified recyclable label, meaning that at least 60 percent of consumers or communities where the items are sold have access to recycling facilities for the products, AND
  • Documentation, such as record of a product label, catalog, invoice, or a manufacturer or vendor website, that verifies the minimum percentage, if not the exact percentage, of postconsumer material in the products

Recycled-Content Requirements

30% recycled paperUnder existing law (PCC Sections 22150-22154), jurisdictions are required to purchase paper products and printing and writing papers that contain recycled content (at least 30 percent, by fiber weight, postconsumer fiber), when:

          • Available at no greater cost than nonrecycled products, and
          • Fitness and quality are equal to nonrecycled products.

However, jurisdictions are not restricted from purchasing recycled-content paper products that cost more than nonrecycled products, which may support their sustainability goals or more environmentally preferable purchasing choices.

Recyclability Requirements

Please Recycle and recycling logo.SB 1383 builds upon the existing recycled-content requirements, adding that paper purchases must also be recyclable and eligible to be labeled with an “unqualified recyclable label,” as defined in the Federal Trade Commission’s “ Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims.”

An unqualified recyclable label indicates that recycling facilities are available to at least 60 percent of the consumers or communities where the item is sold.

If recycling facilities are available to less than 60 percent of the consumers or communities, a product labeled as “recyclable” should have a “qualified label” that includes additional descriptors, such as “This product may not be recyclable in your area.” Products that include a qualified label do not meet SB 1383 procurement requirements.

Unqualified recyclable labels on products convey that a substantial majority of the population has access to recycling programs or collection sites for the products at the end of their useful life. Requiring that jurisdictions purchase paper items that are eligible to be labeled with an unqualified recyclable label supports the organic waste reduction goals established by SB 1383.

Recordkeeping

There are no reporting requirements for paper purchases; however, jurisdictions will need to maintain records to show that they have met the procurement requirements. Records that must be kept include:

  • Copies of all invoices, receipts, or other proofs of purchase that detail the procurement of paper products and printing and writing papers by volume and type
  • Written certification(s) from vendors (such as CalRecycle’s Recycling-Content and Recyclable Paper Certification form) and other verification(s) for minimum recycled content, as applicable