Environmentally Responsible Purchasing

Environmentally preferable products are “products and services [that] have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared to other products and services that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance, or disposal of the product or service.”

Sustainable Purchasing Guidelines

https://www.cusys.edu/psc/purchasing/sustainable_purchasing_guidelines.htm

University departments should consider the following factors and commodity identifiers when planning purchases of goods and services.

Source Reduction

Procurement activity may include:

  • Institute practices that reduce waste, resulting in the purchase of fewer products whenever practicable and cost-effective, but without reducing safety or workplace quality.
  • Purchase remanufactured products such as laser toner cartridges, tires, furniture, equipment and automotive parts whenever practicable, but without reducing safety, quality, or effectiveness.
  • Consider short-term and long-term costs in comparing product alternatives. Include evaluation of total costs expected during the time a product is owned, including, but not limited to, acquisition, extended warranties, operation, supplies, maintenance, disposal costs, and expected lifetime compared to other alternatives.
  • Purchase products that are durable, long lasting, reusable, or refillable.
  • Request that vendors eliminate packaging or use the minimum amount necessary for product protection to the greatest extent practicable.
  • Request packaging that is reusable, recyclable, or compostable when suitable uses and programs exist.
  • Reuse pallets and packaging materials.
  • Require that all equipment purchased, when practicable, be compatible with products and services that provide source reduction benefits.

Recycled Content Products

Procurement activity may include:

  • Products for which the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) has established minimum recycled content standard guidelines - such as printing paper, office paper, janitorial paper, construction, landscaping, transportation, vehicles, and non-paper office products - and which contain the highest post-consumer content practicable, but no less than the minimum recycled content standards established by the U.S. EPA Guidelines.
  • Copiers and printers that can be used with recycled content products.
  • Re-refined lubricating and industrial oil for use in vehicles and other equipment, as long as the product is certified by the American Petroleum Institute (API) as appropriate for use in such equipment.
  • Asphalt concrete, aggregate base, or portland cement concrete for road construction projects that contains recycled, reusable, or reground materials.
  • Recycled content transportation products including signs, cones, parking stops, delineators, and barricades.

Energy and Water Savings

Procurement activity may include:

  • Energy-efficient equipment with the most up-to-date energy efficiency functions including, but not limited to, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems.
  • Efficient lighting with energy-efficient equipment.
  • Products for which the U.S. EPA Energy Star certification is available and which meet Energy Star certification, when practicable. When Energy Star labels are not available, choose energy-efficient products that are in the upper 25% of energy efficiency as designated by the Federal Energy Management Program.
  • Water-saving products.

Landscaping

Procurement activity may include:

  • Employ sustainable landscape management techniques for design, construction and maintenance. These techniques include, but are not limited to, integrated pest management, grasscycling, drip irrigation, composting, and procurement and use of mulch and compost that give preference to those produced from regionally generated plant debris and/or food waste programs.
  • Minimize waste by selecting plants that are appropriate to the microclimate, species that can grow to their natural size in the space allotted them. Place preference on native and drought tolerant plants that require no or minimal watering once established.
  • Limit amount of impervious surfaces by procuring permeable substitutes such as permeable asphalt or pavers for walkways, patios, and driveways.

Toxic Products and Pollution

Procurement activity may include:

  • Refrain from procuring cleaning or disinfecting products (i.e. for janitorial or automotive use) containing carcinogens, mutagens, or teratogens. Chemicals to be avoided are listed by the U.S. EPA or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health on the Toxics Release Inventory.
  • Phase out chlorofluorocarbon-containing refrigerants, solvents and similar products.
  • Procure readily biodegradable surfactants and detergents that do not contain phosphates.
  • Maintain buildings and landscapes, manage pest problems through the application of prevention techniques and physical, mechanical and biological controls
  • Procure products with the lowest amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), highest recycled content, and low or no formaldehyde in materials such as paint, carpeting, adhesives, furniture and casework.
  • Reduce or eliminate the use of products that contribute to the formation of dioxins and furans, including, but not limited to:
    • Paper, paper products, and janitorial paper products that are bleached or processed with chlorine or chlorine derivatives; and,
    • Products that use polyvinyl chloride (PVC), including, but not limited to, office binders, furniture, flooring, and medical supplies.
  • Procure products and equipment with contain no lead or mercury. For products containing lead or mercury, give consideration to those with lower quantities of these metals and to vendors with established lead and mercury recovery programs.
  • Consider vehicle procurement alternatives to diesel such as compressed natural gas, biobased fuels, hybrids, electric batteries, and fuel cells, as available.

Forest Conservation

Procurement activity may include:

  • Procure wood products such as lumber and paper that originate from forests harvested in an environmentally sustainable manner.
  • Give consideration to wood products that are certified to be sustainably harvested by a comprehensive, performance-based certification system. The certification system shall include independent third-party audits, with standards equivalent to, or stricter than, those of the Forest Stewardship Council certification.
  • When practicable, procure locally, sustainably harvested wood.

Resources for CU-Boulder Purchasers

http://www.cu.edu/psc/, this is CU’s Procurement Center’s homepage.

Green Products Guide for CU-Boulder purchasers http://www.colorado.edu/ecenter/publications/green-products-purchasing-guide

ERP checklist: Download PDF with guidelines for commonly purchased products.

Blueprint for a Green Campus

Useful Links and Resources

Green Seal A prominent certification organization for green products

Environmental Protection Agency’s EPP Tool Suite

Eco-SAT, A green purchasing assessment tool
http://www.cec.org/pubs_docs/documents/index.cfm?varlan=english&ID=1651

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
http://www.aashe.org/resources/purchasing.php

Center for a New American Dream Institutional Purchasing Resources
http://www.newdream.org/buy/

Links on these pages to non-university sites do not represent endorsement by the University of Colorado at Boulder or its affiliates.

The Environmentally Responsible Purchasing Taskforce

The current Environmentally Responsible Purchasing (ERP) taskforce was charged with identifying products and services which are the top opportunities for the campus to implement and standardize ERP practices.

The group identified the following top categories for ERP best practices:

  • Print and copy paper

  • Custodial paper products

  • Computers and Electronics: Computers, copiers, printers, fax machines

  • Cleaning Products

  • Furniture

  • Building maintenance: Carpet, Paint, adhesives, lighting

  • Vehicle fleets

  • Concessions and vending

  • Food service supplies

Environmentally Responsible Purchasing Taskforce

Environmentally Responsible Purchasing Taskforce

2006 Update and Recommendations

Background

The current Environmentally Responsible Purchasing (ERP) taskforce was charged with identifying products and services which are the top opportunities for the campus to implement and standardize ERP practices.

Environmentally preferable products are “products and services [that] have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared to other products and services that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance, or disposal of the product or service.”

- Executive Order 13101, Greening the Government Through Waste Prevention, Recycling, and Federal Acquisition, September 16, 1998. Re-authorized by President Bush in 2004.

The group identified the following top categories for ERP best practices:

  • Print and copy paper

  • Custodial paper products

  • Computers and Electronics: Computers, copiers, printers, fax machines

  • Cleaning Products

  • Furniture

  • Building maintenance: Carpet, Paint, adhesives, lighting

  • Vehicle fleets

  • Concessions and vending

  • Food service supplies

To begin, a survey of campus departments revealed purchasing trends and standard products. For each category, the group reviewed research on price, quality and availability. Overall, the recommendations reinforce existing practices, and are cost neutral or pose cost savings. Recommendations can address two levels of implementation: standard departmental purchases, and contracts/ price agreements.

Six product assessments are complete and recommendations follow. The taskforce is currently researching or has plans to complete assessments for the remaining six product categories by end of spring semester 2007.

Taskforce Participants, Affiliation and Role:

Andre Aguer, Facilities Management – paint

Jimmie Baker, University Memorial Center – all products

Michelle Clifford, ITS – computers and electronics

Jeff Darling, Facilities Management – all products

Jack DeBell, CU Environmental Center – computers and electronics, paper

Robert Duray, UCSU – all products, 2005-06

Bryan Flansburg, Transportation Services - vehicles

Newell Fogelberg, Imaging Services - paper

Amin Gheysar, Housing and Dining Services – all products

Amy Harris, UCSU – all products, 2006-07

Marianne Martin – all products

Steven McNally, Associate Vice President – planning and most products, 2005-06

Robert Montez, Property Services – computers and electronics

Ed von Bleichert, Facilities Management – cleaners

Student Research and Administrative Support Staff:

Laurel Kalish, CU Environmental Center, 2005-06

Jon Bortles, CU Environmental Center, 2006-07

2006 Product Assessment Recommendations:

Office Paper

Recommendations:

1- All campus departments purchase print/copy paper with the following attributes:

  • Minimum 30% recycled content

  • Maximum amount of post-consumer waste as feasible.

  • Elemental chlorine-bleach free

2- Use of recycled paper for special printing jobs should be voluntarily implemented based on cost and availability.

3- Use of recycled paper for official campus stationary is already standard at 25% recycled content; 25% cotton. Recommend comparing bid prices for paper with 50% recycled content.

Impact on University Operations:

Many current practices are already underway that reflect these recommendations. Campus Printing Initiative mandates the procurement of 100% recycled paper, 100% post-consumer waste (note: this may have changed with lab management transition). UCSU requires 100% post-consumer be used in all UCSU cost-centers. Most departments on campus are purchasing 30 and 100% recycled paper from Corporate Express or Distribution Center. Recycled copy paper has become much more cost-competitive in recent years. Currently, 30% and 100% recycled content papers cost 5 to 10% more than virgin bond papers and even less in some cases. Bulk purchasing power can drive the cost down further.

Benefits:

Every 100 cases of 100% recycled/ 100% post-consumer waste copy paper saves 60 trees, 10,250 kilowatts hours of electricity, 17,500 gallons of water, and prevents 150 lbs of air pollution.

Custodial Paper

Recommendations:

  • 100% recycled content

  • Minimum 40% post-consumer waste

  • Elemental chlorine-bleach free

  • Where feasible, use material conserving dispensers, such as the motion sensor dispensers for hand towels currently used in the UMC.

Impact on University Operations:

Much of the campus already uses custodial paper products with the recommended attributes. Facilities Management, Housing Services, Recreation Services, University Memorial Center all use paper towels, toilet paper and other custodial paper products that are made from 100% recycled content and all contain at least 30% post-consumer material. In most cases, the recycled options are less expensive. All distributors on contract stock the recommended products.

Environmental Benefits: Recycled paper has positive impacts on forests, climate, water, and pollution prevention.

 

Computers, printers, fax machines and copiers

Recommendations:

  • Follow EPEAT requirements which include energy conservation, labeling, materials selection, end of life management and packaging considerations.

  • Recyclable packaging requirements that reduce waste for CU (minimal packaging and/or bulk shipping)

  • Flat Panel, Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) monitors

Impact on University Operations:

There is no price increase for EnergyStar electronics and it is unknown if other environmental/social provisions require additional expense. However, these provisions have the potential to save significant amounts of energy, waste, and potential liability costs. When the WSCA contract is up for renewal, CU would need to specify environmental considerations in order to advance these recommendations.

Environmental Benefits:

These recommendations would result in less energy consumption, less toxic chemicals, and less waste.

Cleaners

Recommendations:

All departments using cleaners should follow the Chemical Cleaner Preferable Purchasing Program which requires that the cleaning products used on University properties be certified by Green Seal or meet the Manufacturers Product Assessment Tool criterion.

Implications on current University Operations:

The Department of Facilities Management has adopted a process of comparing products against other products and has worked to incorporate the most acceptable alternatives into the categories. UCSU departments are implementing cleaners procurement consistent with legislation which mandates the use of Green Seal certified products or products demonstrating compliance with the Manufacturers Product Assessment Tool (MPAT). Areas affected include the University Memorial Center, Recreation Center, and Wardenburg Health Center as well as any other cost centers purchasing cleaning supplies. Housing Department housekeeping and dining services have tested and reviewed numerous ‘green’ products and is working to implement a new purchasing program currently.

Environmental and Health Benefits: Improved employee health, indoor air quality, less environmentally damaging toxins, and reduced liability. The program achieves the safest community possible while ensuring high cleaning standards.

Paint

Recommendations:

  • Low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint should continue to be the specified standard use product.

  • Zero-VOC paint should be available for implementation as the technology and performance increases with future development. Currently, it is not adequate for high use areas.

  • The use of deep colored paints which contain higher VOC content should be discouraged and minimized.

    Implications on current University Operations:

    Facilities Management and the Housing Department all use low-VOC paint. Low-VOC paint is standard on contract. There are no quality issues.

    Environmental and Health Benefits: Healthy working conditions, reduced VOC's, fewer toxins.

    Vehicle Fleets

    Recommendations:

    For new purchases, departments can specify higher fuel efficiency vehicles and/or alternatively fueled vehicles where finances and availability allow.

    The taskforce finds that a standard purchasing practice or policy recommendation is not currently feasible due to such a wide variety of departmental vehicle needs. A best practices checklist is in development.

    To “green” the University’s fleets, an inventory of each existing vehicle for quantity, technology, fuel type and consumption efficiency level will highlight areas in need of improvement. The inventory will be able to help:

  • “Right-size” vehicles for the corresponding task (e.g. downsizing, eliminating)

  • More efficiently plan vehicle travel, maintenance, and operations

  • Install non-motorized transport where appropriate

    The inventory will outline initial improvements and then additional steps can cut fuel consumption and emissions on a progressive basis. Changes will not hinder the daily operations of fleets and could be economically viable.

    Implications on current University Operations:

    This recommendation does not change procurement procedures. The inventory process has commenced.

    Environmental Benefits: Decrease in pollution emissions; improved air-quality and climate protection.