Books and Commercial Printing

Description of Environmental Purchasing Policy

The Books and Commercial Printing section of the Environmental Purchasing Policy covers the following Purchasing Services commodity clusters: Books, Printing, Subscription, and Test Materials.  Additionally, Printed Products include the printing of Books, Brochures, Mailings, Letters, Business cards, Flyers, and Event notices.

Purchasers are required to use a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled paper content for all printed products. Using recycled content paper impacts the pace climate change by contributing fundamentally to the slowing of deforestation. You can find more information on the benefits of purchasing recycled paper here.

Purchasers are strongly discouraged from using virgin paper—paper with no recycled content. Additionally, the Policy suggests that purchasers take the next step and use paper products with 100% post-consumer recycled content. Purchasers are also encouraged to procure and execute commercial printing jobs using paper that is unbleached or chlorine free, includes limited or biodegradable packaging, and uses soy-based ink.

Waste-Reducing Alternatives to Purchasing This Product

Purchasers should consider the use of paper-free alternatives such as electronic books (e-books), online invitations and event notices, and websites to advertise information. Additionally, Purchasers are encouraged to procure used books instead of buying new products. Libraries are excellent resources for borrowing books and other printed materials.

What to Consider When Purchasing Commercially Printed Products

Recycled content: While the University mandates a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled paper content, 100% post-consumer recycled content is preferable.

Waste reduction: By initially purchasing products with the least amount of non-recyclable packaging, the consumer can minimize the volume of waste in landfills; additional action can be taken to purchase printed products with biodegradable packaging.   

Misconceptions: Take action against the following commonly held misconceptions about paper products:  that virgin paper is of higher quality than recycled paper; that virgin is more available and less expensive; that recycled paper is not as bright as virgin paper; that recycled paper is more likely to jam printers or copy machines. In fact, there is no difference at all between virgin paper and recycled paper in terms of quality, and Supply Central offers free samples of recycled paper to any purchasers who still have their doubts.  

Possible Vendors

Below is a list of vendors of books, commercial printing services and related products in the NYU area that offer sustainable options. This is not a comprehensive list, and the Sustainability Task Force has not formally evaluated the vendors listed. However, based on thoughtful research, we believe that the following vendors are a good starting point for purchasers in search of sustainable products and services.

Additional Resources and Information

Factsheet on Biochemicals for the Printing Industry by the Printer’s National Environmental Assistance Center

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions of vendors for inclusion in future versions of the Environmental Purchasing Guide, please leave a comment in the box below.


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