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Office Depot Sets Stricter Paper Purchasing Rules

office depot paper graphicOffice Depot has set stricter guidelines for purchasing paper from suppliers, including establishing minimum requirement for products claiming to contain recycled content and vowing to only buy virgin fiber certified under one or more forest certification schemes.

The new paper guidelines, which update the company’s 2004 supply chain policy, were drafted over a 12-month period with input from World Wildlife Fund, several paper suppliers and other environmental non-governmental organizations.

The previous version of the Office Depot paper policy had a preference for “certified” fiber, but gave no guidance on which forest certifications were acceptable. The new policy includes Sustainable Forestry Initiative, American Tree Farm, Program for Endorsement of Forestry Certification and Forest Stewardship Council-controlled wood schemes as minimum requirements.

Office Depot will not buy paper products bleached with elemental chlorine or from suppliers unwilling to disclose the original forest source. If a recycling content claim is made, it must be verified by a credible third party and be at least 10 percent post consumer recycled or 20 percent total recycled content for most of the world. In Europe, the minimum requirement is 30 percent total recycled content.

The policy includes all paper purchased or sold by Office Depot globally, with initial implementation focused on high-volume categories such as copy paper and marketing papers, and a secondary focus on other paper-based office products and delivery packaging, the company says.

The policy also establishes a “shades of green” framework, which sets minimum specifications for three levels of green paper. For example, paper labeled as “light green” must contain 10 percent to 29 percent post consumer recycled content.

OfficeMax launched a program in 2012 that reuses and recycles the boxes it uses for deliveries to business customers. The office supply company expects the initiative to reduce box consumption by 80 percent among participating businesses.

The program, Boomerang Box by OfficeMax, kicked off in Seattle and expanded nationwide in the second half of 2012. Business participation in the program is free and voluntary.

In 2011, Office Depot launched its GreenOffice Delivery Service, which delivers everyday office supplies in paper bags instead of cardboard boxes, in an effort to reduce its own delivery consumption.

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