Key Procurement Guidelines and Considerations
- Seek products containing recycled materials, are recyclable, have reduced or no packaging, use non-or less-toxic chemicals2.
- Supplies with post-consumer content – The higher the percentage, the better2.
- Work with your primary office supply distributor to integrate environmentally preferable office supplies2.
- Browse Terracycle’s FREE programs to take advantage of free responsible disposal.
Office supplies (pens, clips, folders, white boards, trash bag liners, binders, etc) are a relatively small area of clinic procurement, but there are still many options to consider that can help your clinic meet their sustainability goals. Individually, these items may not have a significant environmental impact on a company, however they are purchased by most companies and collectively the environmental impact accumulates1. The volume of these materials in use justifies its reduction in use2 and implementing a re-use culture is strongly encouraged. Purchasing these items comes with identifying items produced made from recycled, post-consumer content materials, which are readily available2,3.
More durable products reduce the quantity of waste and the environmental impacts associated with disposal. Look for reusable, refillable, rechargeable or remanufactured products to reduce the waste associated with repeat purchases of the same or similar products4.
When it comes to disposing office supplies at the end of their use, the responsibility is on the consumer (the practice) to dispose of such items responsibly. Terracycle offers FREE programs funded by the producer, which can aid in purchasing choices. Choices can be directed based on responsible disposal on the producers dime! For example, there is BIC Stationery Recycling Program, a DIXON Classroom Recycling Program and Febreeze Aerosol and Air Care Recycling Programs, among many more5!
Relevant Certifications: (Click on logos for more information)
- The percent of post-consumer material included in the product should be printed on the product information. The higher the percentage the better!
The purchase of a product that is built to last may be associated with a higher initial purchase price, e.g. rechargeable batteries, but that early investment may be justified through a comparison of life cycle costs4, including the cost of repeat purchasing of products.
- Green Office Partnership
- Green Seal Green Office Partnership Checklist
- Green Seal Product Finder
- EPA: Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines for Non-Paper Office Products
- Terracycle Existing FREE Recycling Programs
- EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program: Buying Green Online: Greening Government E-Procurement of Office Supplies
1. Mosgaard, M.A. Improving the practices of green procurement of minor items. J. Clean. Prod 90, 264–274 (2015).
2. Sustainability Roadmap for Hospitals: Office Supplies.
5. TerraCycle Free Recycling Programs.