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What is Green Purchasing?

It’s considering the environmental impacts of a product when you make purchases.   Following some basic guidelines when you shop will help us transition to an economy that makes better use of our natural resources, one that is less disruptive of the natural systems we depend upon—the air and climate; freshwaters and oceans, the plant and animal kingdoms.

 It’s choosing products that…

  • Are the most energy efficient.

  • Have a high recycled content, especially “post-consumer” recycled content.

  • Reduce solid waste (have less packaging, are reusable, durable).

  • Are the least environmentally damaging through their life cycle:  in manufacturing, use, and disposal. 

  • Are made or grown locally. 

How much of a difference can Tulane make?

At Tulane, we are about 18,000 staff, faculty and students. We are a very large consumer of energy and materials.  We use almost 5,000 cases of paper every year.  The energy bill for the Uptown campus can reach $7 million.  Small changes in the practices of a large institution can make a difference for the environment. 

We are also very influential.  Our students learn from our practices and carry them on to communities and professions near and far.  Other institutions in the region look to Tulane’s leadership and example.  Perhaps most importantly, if we choose environmentally friendly products as we purchase, our vendors will make them more widely available to other customers. 

Here in New Orleans, one of the most significant environmental issues we can address through green purchasing is global climate change. Generating electricity and burning fossil fuels is a major source of greenhouse gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere. By buying more energy efficient appliances and vehicles we reduce those emissions. Buying recycled products also helps slow global warming, as manufacturing goods from recycled materials uses far less energy and causes less pollution that making them from raw materials.

For more information on environmental efforts and opportunities across campus, visit Green.Tulane.edu.

Green Purchasing Product Information

The table below outlines key environmentally-friendly features and products to look for when purchasing for your office. One of the easiest ways to “green” your purchasing is to ask for ENERGY STAR labeled products when you buy electrical appliances and office equipment.  ENERGY STAR is a label given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the most energy efficient models of refrigerator, air conditioners, fax machines, televisions, etc. etc.  For more information on the ENERGY STAR label, visit http://green.tulane.edu/energysmart/WhatIsEnergyStar.html

Product Look for… Some Available Options Environmental Benefits
Paper

Look for copier, printing and office paper that is at least 30% post-consumer content. 

Office Depot catalog offers:

  • Office Depot “Green Top” Recycled Copy Paper (35% post-consumer recycled paper)

  • Great White Multiuse 20 Paper (30% post-consumer fibers)

  • Great White Recycled Laser paper (30% post-consumer fibers)

  • The 2002 Office Depot Catalog has a Recycled Product Index on page 1099

Materials Management is looking into supplying departments that currently buy from their storeroom some higher-percentage recycled paper options.

Using recycled paper saves 58% of the water, reduces air pollution by 74%, reduces water pollution by 35%, and uses 23-74% of the energy required to make virgin paper from trees.
Computers Look for the ENERGY STAR label, identifying computers that are most energy efficient.
  • Flat-screen monitors and portable notebook/laptop computers are more energy efficient than desktops.
  • Ask if the manufacturer will “take back” or recycle the computer when you are done with it.
  • Make sure the monitor’s power management software is operating when you set up the computer.
Click here for a list of ENERGY STAR labeled computers.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Purchasing an ENERGY STAR computer and monitor equal to removing 0.17 cars from the road for a year.
Copiers Look for ENERGY STAR labeled copiers. ENERGY STAR labeled copiers have these important energy and paper-saving features:
  • Automatically enter "low-power" and/or "off" modes after a period of inactivity.
  • Have energy-efficiency specifications based on copier speed.
  • Have separate specifications available for large/wide-format models. Have double-sided copying recommended as the default option on standard-sized machines that copy at 20 pages or faster per minute.

Click here for more information and a list of ENERGY STAR labeled copiers.

 

  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Purchasing an ENERGY STAR low or medium speed copier is equal to removing 0.29 cars from the road for a year. An ENERGY STAR high speed copier reduces greenhouse gases equal to removing 0.13 cars from road for a year.
Printers Ask for the ENERGY STAR label, identifying printers that are most energy efficient. Click here for more information and a list of ENERGY STAR labeled printers.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Purchasing an ENERGY STAR printer is equal to removing 0.13 cars from the road for a year.
Refrigerators Ask for the ENERGY STAR label, identifying refrigerators that are most energy efficient. Click here for more information and a list of ENERGY STAR labeled refrigerators.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Purchasing an ENERGY STAR labeled refrigerator is equal to removing 0.20 cars from the road for a year.

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