General Guidelines for Sustainable Purchasing

In order to conserve natural resources and to protect the environment, keep the 3 R’s – reduce, reuse & recycle – in mind as well as looking for products that have the following qualities when making purchases:

  • Quality, function and product life-cycle costs are equal or superior to traditional products.
  • Durable (long lasting, reusable, refillable, rechargeable), as opposed to single use or disposable items.
  • Consider purchasing furniture and equipment from Pitt Surplus.

Manufacturing Considerations

  • Made of recycled materials, maximizing post-consumer content.
  • Remanufactured products such as laser toner cartridges, tires, furniture, equipment and automotive parts when practical and cost-effective, without reducing safety or quality.
  • Made from raw materials obtained in an environmentally sound sustainable manner.
  • Non-toxic or minimally toxic, preferably biodegradable.
  • Manufactured in an environmentally sound, sustainable manner.

Operational Considerations

  • Minimizes water and energy use in operation.
  • Causes minimal or no environmental damage during normal use or maintenance.
  • Use of re-refined lubricating and industrial oil for equipment, if the product is certified by the American Petroleum Institute (API) as appropriate for use in such equipment.

Packaging and Shipping Considerations

  • Shipped with minimal packaging, consistent with care of the product.
  • Shipping and packaging materials should be made of recycled, reused, and recyclable materials.
  • Produced locally or regionally to minimize the environmental costs associated with shipping.
  • Available for purchase in multi-packs versus singles.
  • Avoid air shipments.
  • Consolidate several small orders into one larger order.

Product End-Of-Life Management Considerations

  • Can it be recycled? Recyclable products can be demonstrably diverted from the University’s solid waste stream for use as a raw material in the manufacture of another product, preferably higher value uses.
  • Can recycling occur in the immediate area?
  • Can the product be reused? Reusable products can be used several times for an intended use before being discarded. For example, washable food/beverage containers or refillable ballpoint pens.
  • If it cannot be recycled or reused, can it be disposed of safely?
  • Product disposition should minimize materials that are sent to landfills.