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Green Purchasing

... is the buying of eco-friendly products and/or purchasing from businesses that support green practices and use green materials.

  • University purchase terms and conditions have been updated to include a clear statement regarding Energy Star-rated products to assist in assuring that Energy Star-rated equipment is purchased whenever possible.
  • Various University vendors (Grainger, Fisher Scientific, Iowa Prison Industries, VWR, etc) have been contacted to provide a list of their green products to be made available through University contracts.
  • Training on purchasing green products is being advanced by Purchasing.
  • The University is evaluating green-certified janitorial supplies. Green-certified foam soap has been adopted and facial tissue made from recycled material is under review.
  • The University issued a Request for Proposal for Vending and Beverage Service that contained a provision for providing support of recycling efforts on campus.

Iowa Board of Regents Purchasing Sustainability Goals

Vision:  Each institution shall adopt a campus-wide environmentally preferable purchasing plan that is consistent with best practices in higher education.  These policies will increase the purchase of products with a reduced environmental impact, while balancing the purchase decision with fiscal responsibilities.

Goals:

  1. Energy Efficiency: Institutions shall specify U.S. EPA Energy Star* equivalent or better ratings on applicable energy consuming products when available and practicable. When Energy Star labels are not available, all purchasing units shall choose products that are energy efficient.  
  2. Source Reduction
  • Institutions shall purchase products with a minimum of 30% Post Consumer Waste (PCW) recycled content for paper products, or, at the minimum, EPA standard for other products, or bio-based materials, when available and practicable.
  • Institutions shall encourage vendor packaging that is reusable, contains a minimum of hazardous and non-recyclable materials, and meets or exceeds the recycled material content levels in the U.S. EPA Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines for Paperboard and Packaging.
  • Reduce the use of disposable products.  Specify and purchase products that are reusable or refillable wherever feasible and practical
  • By July 1, 2012, the Regent institutions’ combined purchases with recycled content will increase by 10% over the base year of FY 2010.
  1. Buy Local:  Institutions shall encourage purchase of locally grown and produced products, defined as within Iowa or a 500 mile radius of the institution, to minimize the environmental costs associated with shipping.
  2. Green Goods and Services:  Institutions shall encourage the use of green-certified products and services such as, but not limited to, Green Seal, Egologo, EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool), FSC, etc. 
  3. E-procurement:
  • Institutions shall strive to achieve paperless processes by reducing the use of paper, toner, storage files and space.
  • By January 1, 2010, institutions shall require all bidders for goods and services (excluding construction) to:
    • submit bids/proposals electronically or, at a minimum, on recycled paper, double-sided and without extra materials not requested
    • reduce packaging or minimize the negative impact of packaging
    • consider the environmental and social impact costs over the lifetime of a product or services in evaluation criteria.
Energy Star is a voluntary labeling program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy that identifies energy efficient products. Qualified products exceed minimum federal standards for energy consumption by a certain amount, or where no federal standards exist, have certain energy saving features

Why buy Green?

  • Conserve resources, including energy
  • Economic benefits
  • Health and safety
  • Improve our environmental footprint
  • Market development
  • Reduced liabilities

The meaning of green

Green Purchasing, also now known as responsible purchasing, is an effort to reduce the hidden human health, environmental and social costs of purchasing decisions by buying more environmentally and socially responsible products.  It includes efforts to buy goods and services that reduce waste, create energy- or water-efficiencies, use recycled materials, reduce or eliminate hazardous materials or produce other related environmental or social benefits.*

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*Case, Scot. "The Economics of Green". Article of February/March 2010. GOPRO