Purchasing and Business Services Manual (PUR)

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Effective: 12/1/2007

Revised: 11/1/2015

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PUR 210: Green Purchasing

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To establish a policy for the procurement of environmentally preferred products and services

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University policy

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All university agency/orgs

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Arizona State University is committed to the stewardship of the environment and to reducing the university’s dependence on nonrenewable energy. These “Green Purchasing” policies and procedures support the university’s commitment to sustainability.

The goal of this policy is to reduce the adverse environmental impact of our purchasing decisions by buying goods and services from manufacturers and suppliers who share our commitment to the environment. Green purchasing is the method whereby environmental and social considerations are given equal weight to the price, availability, and performance criteria that colleges and universities use to make purchasing decisions. Green purchasing is also known as “environmentally preferred purchasing (EPP), green procurement, affirmative procurement, eco-procurement, and environmentally responsible purchasing,” particularly within US federal government agencies. Green purchasing minimizes negative environmental and social effects through the use of environmentally friendly products.

The aim of this environmental purchasing strategy is to develop policies consistent with these principles:

  1. minimize the consumption of nonreplaceable natural resources by reviewing current and proposed future usage and evaluating the pros and cons of alternatives
  2. seek alternatives to products and processes that are detrimental to the environment by using more “environmentally friendly” products and processes
  3. minimize waste, including: any packaging, waste produced by the product (or service) in questions, and waste generated by the eventual disposal of the product
  4. maximize the reuse and recycling of materials


  5. stimulate demand for “environmentally friendly” products by letting manufacturers and suppliers know the environmental performance we expect in products.

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1. Energy

  1. All desktop computers, notebooks/laptops, monitors/displays, and imaging equipment purchased must meet all Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) environmental criteria designated as “gold” as contained in the IEEE 1680 Standard for the Environmental Assessment of Personal Computer Products. All televisions purchased must meet the highest EPEAT rating available at the time of purchase.
  2. Copiers and printers purchased shall be compatible with the use of recycled content and remanufactured products.
  3. All electrical products purchased by ASU shall meet the US EPA Energy Star certification when available and practicable. When products with Energy Star labels are not available, products that are in the upper 25 per cent of energy efficiency as designated by the federal Energy Management Program shall be used.
  4. Suppliers of electronic equipment, including but not limited to computers, monitors, printers, and copiers, shall be required to take back equipment for reuse or environmentally safe recycling when deemed appropriate by ASU.
  5. When acquiring vehicles, the university shall purchase/lease less polluting alternatives to diesel, such as compressed natural gas, biobased fuels, hybrids, electric batteries, and fuel cells, as available and suitable for the use intended.
  6. When acquiring or replacing inefficient interior or exterior lighting, energy efficient equipment shall be purchased.

2. Water

  1. Purchase only the most water efficient appliances available. This includes, but is not limited to, high performance fixtures like toilets, low-flow faucets and aerators, and upgraded irrigation systems.

3. Toxins and Pollutants

  1. Cleaning solvents should be biodegradable, phosphate free, and citrus-based when their use will not compromise quality of service.
  2. Industrial and institutional cleaning products that meet Green Seal certification standards or environmental preferability and performance shall be purchased or required to be used by janitorial contractors.
  3. All surfactants and detergents used shall be readily biodegradable and shall not contain phosphates.
  4. Vacuum cleaners that meet the requirements of the Carpet and Rug Institute’s “Green Label Testing Program—Vacuum Cleaner Criteria” (capable of capturing 96 per cent of particulates measuring 0.3 microns and operating with a sound level less than 70dBA) shall be used by in-house staff and required for janitorial contractors.
  5. Whenever possible, products and equipment should not contain lead or mercury. For products that contain lead or mercury, preference should be given to those products with lower quantities of these metals and to suppliers with established lead and mercury recovery programs.
  6. Pest control shall be managed through prevention—physical and mechanical—and through the purchase of environmentally friendly products. As a last resort, use of the least toxic pest control substance is required.

4. Biobased Products

  1. Biobased plastic products that are biodegradable and compostable, such as bags, film, food and beverage containers, and cutlery, shall be acquired by the university and/or used by our contracted suppliers.
  2. Compostable plastic products purchased shall meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards as found in ASTM D6400-04. Biodegradable plastics used as coatings on paper and other compostable substrates shall meet ASTM D6868-03 standards.
  3. Vehicle fuels made from nonwood, plant-based contents such as vegetable oils are encouraged.
  4. Paper, paper products, and construction products made from nonwood, plant-based contents such as agricultural crops and residues are encouraged.

5. Forest Conservation

  1. Ensure that all wood and wood contained within the products that ASU purchases is 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.
  2. Purchase or use of previously used or salvaged wood and wood products are encouraged.

6. Recycling

  1. Thirty per cent postconsumer waste recycled paper for all applications shall be the standard when quality of service is not compromised nor the health and safety of employees prejudiced.
  2. When specifying asphalt concrete, aggregate base or Portland cement concrete for road construction projects, recycled, reusable, or reground materials shall be used when practicable.
  3. The use of reclaimed stone and brick and the use of secondary or recycled aggregates shall be specified.
  4. Transportation products, including signs, cones, parking stops, delineators, channelizers, and barricades shall contain the highest postconsumer content practicable.
  5. Products that are durable, long lasting, reusable, or refillable are preferred whenever feasible.

7. Packaging

  1. Packaging that is reusable, recyclable, or compostable is preferred, when suitable uses and programs exist, as is eliminating packaging or using the minimum amount necessary for product protection to the greatest extent practicable. The supplier is expected to pick up packaging and either reuse it or recycle it.

8. Green Building

  1. Green purchasing concepts shall be integrated into architectural designs, final construction documents, and the final construction of all university buildings and renovations of property or facilities owned by the university. All buildings and renovations undertaken by the university shall follow green building practices for design, construction, and operations, where appropriate, as described in the LEED Rating System.
  2. When maintaining buildings, products such as paint, carpeting, adhesives, furniture and casework with the lowest amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), highest recycled content, and low or no formaldehyde shall be used when practicable.
  3. All carpet distributors and/or manufacturers of carpet installed at the university shall have a carpet recycling plan that is approved by Purchasing and Business Services.
  4. The use of chlorofluorocarbon and halon-containing refrigerants, solvents, and other products shall be phased out, and new purchases of heating/ventilating/air conditioning, refrigeration, insulation, and fire suppression systems shall not contain them.

9. Landscaping

  1. All landscape renovations, construction, and maintenance performed by internal staff members or contractors providing landscaping services shall employ sustainable landscape management techniques for design, construction, and maintenance whenever possible. This includes, but is not limited to, integrated pest management, drip irrigation, composting, and use of mulch and compost that give preference to those produced from regionally generated plant debris and/or food waste programs.
  2. Landscape structures constructed of recycled content materials are encouraged. The amount of impervious surfaces in the landscape shall be limited, whenever practicable. Permeable substitutes, such as permeable asphalt or pavers, are encouraged for walkways, patios, and driveways.
  3. Plants should be selected to minimize waste by choosing species that are appropriate to the microclimate. Native and drought-tolerant plants that require no or minimal watering once established should be purchased.

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These policies are designed to do the most good for the resources expended. When the cost of following the policies outweighs their benefits, a variance/waiver can be obtained through Purchasing and Business Services.

The chief procurement officer has the authority to waive any requirement of this policy.

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