Sustainable Purchasing

Guidelines for environmentally responsible purchasing

What is Sustainable Purchasing?

Sustainable purchasing includes the acquisition of recycled content products, environmentally preferable products and services, bio-based products, energy- and water-efficient products, alternate fuel vehicles, products using renewable energy, and alternatives to hazardous or toxic chemicals.

Supporting a Plastic-Free UCI

The University of California is taking a stand against the throwaway culture that is choking our oceans and landfills with single-use plastics. Plastics now make up 90% of all trash floating on the ocean surface. Single-use plastics are a global problem that requires systemic changes to mitigate the negative effects to oceans, wildlife, and human health. Despite our best efforts to recycle, only a small fraction of all plastics end up being recycled and each time their quality depreciates until it can no longer be used at all. The best solution is to eliminate single-use plastics and prevent them from entering our planet in the first place.

All 10 UC campuses are phasing out single-use plastics as part of a bold commitment to achieve zero waste to landfill, furthering their long-established sustainability goals. The new addition to the UC Policy on Sustainable Practices will transition all UCs away from plastic bags in retail and dining locations and eliminate single-use plastic foodservice items and beverage bottles. 

The new policy builds a culture of support for UC’s zero waste goals, but most importantly, it will incentivize vendors to develop reusable or compostable packaging for their products.

The purpose of this policy is to facilitate the transition from single-use plastics to reusable or locally compostable alternatives. Reusables constitute any materials that are durable and intended for multiple uses, such as metal or bamboo.

There are several steps the UCI community can take to reduce the usage of single use plastics. This will include a combination of awareness campaigns and student outreach to increase knowledge on the subject. We’ve included the following resources to provide guidance for compliance:

Single-Use Plastic Policy Resources

The Single-Use Plastics Policy Implementation Guide provides an explanation of all the components of the Policy and resources to help the campus community comply.
Please review the list of suggested items available through UCIBuy prior to making a purchase.
The Green Events Guide specifically address how to organize events with sustainability in mind. You can have your event Green Events Certified to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.

New Campus Standard for Copy Paper

UC Irvine is raising our commitment to support UCOP's practice of Environmentally Preferable Purchasing. To strengthen UC Irvine's responsibility toward preserving the environment and contributing to a greener campus, the decision was made, with the support of the Chancellor, to utilize 100% post-consumer waste (PCW) as our standard copy paper. 100% recycled paper with UC/UCI contracted pricing is available through UCIBuy.

Use Less Paper

Try to use less paper by minimizing what you print or by printing double-sided.

When ordering paper products such as copier and custodial paper use Green Seal Certified Products. Look for paper that:

Choose ENERGY STAR Products

A government-backed program, ENERGY STAR helps businesses and individuals select products that protect the environment through superior energy efficiency and practices.

UCI has established a campus-based policy to require that when an "Energy Star" choice exists the required purchase will be the Energy Star product. This includes:

UCI has a standard to purchase EPEAT Gold for computers, displays, thin clients, tablets/slates, televisions, and imaging equipment.

These products use less energy, save money, and help protect the environment.

UC Policy

"The university will use its purchasing power to promote the availability of products that are resource-efficient, energy-efficient, water-efficient, and of recycled and rapidly renewable content for building materials, subsystems, components, equipment, and supplies." (see UC Sustainable Practices Guidelines)

In addition, the UC policy on Green Building Design and Clean Energy Standards, and Sustainable Transportation Practices addresses how UC buildings will meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for sustainability.

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