Sustainable Purchasing for Offices

Do you purchase goods and services for your office or lab?  Are you looking to minimize your impact on the environment by purchasing more eco-friendly products?  See why purchasing more sustainble products is good for the campus and the health of our people.

What is Sustainable Purchasing?

The Office of Sustainability defines Sustainable Purchasing (SP) as the procurement of products and services that reduce negative impacts on the environment when compared to products or services with the same purpose. sustainable products take into account several factors such as:

  • Product material:  Does it include recycled content?
  • Energy involved in the manufacturing, use, and transport:  Is it made locally or in the United States?
  • Quality:  How long will the products last?
  • Price:  Is the product worth the money spent?
  • Need:  Is a new product needed or can resources be reused or shared? *

* Information taken and adapted from the BuySmart Network.

Why is Sustainable Purchasing Important?

The products and services we use have a lifecycle that requires energy, materials, waste byproducts, disposal, etc.  In choosing more sustainable options, our campus can reduce our environmental footprint by decreasing harmful emissions from energy use, minimize landfill waste, reducing our use of raw materials, etc. The results goals are:

  • Reduce energy and pollution associated with the manufacturing, use and disposal of our products
  • Support the market for recycled goods
  • Reduce disposal of goods into landfills through reuse or recycling
  • Conserve natural resources

What Should I Look for When Buying Sustainable Products?

Office Depot is our preferred vendor for the UNT System, and they have a “Greener Office” site.  Click here to search for more sustainable office supplies. When buying sustainable products, look for the following key words or symbols:

Recycled and/of Renewable Content

  • Look for office supplies such as paper, pens, etc. that say “made with recycled content” or state a percentage of recycled material or post-consumer waste
  • Buy products that are made from renewable materials such as bamboo, cork, agrifiber, strawboard, wheatboard, linoleum, rubber, and cotton

Sustainable Forestry Initiative

  • Look for this sign on packaging. SFI is an independent, non-profit organization that oversees a sustainable forestry certification program. Basically it promotes sustainable forest management in North America.


Energy Efficiency

  • Look for appliances that save energy such as ENERGY STAR Products

energy star

Buy Local

  • Look for the Go Texan sign or look for products made in the USA

go texan1


  • Look for products that have minimal packaging or recycled content in its packaging