UIS Green Purchasing Guide

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Green Purchasing Guide

Pilot Test Information:

Please download and review the current working draft of the Green Purchasing Guide (.pdf)

What is “Green Purchasing”?

Green Purchasing is the buying of products that contain a high percentage of recycled materials including paper and folders or products that have been remanufactured including toner cartridges.

Why is “Green Purchasing” important?

The goal of green purchasing is to close the recycling loop. The recycling process reduces the amount of raw materials and resources used in manufacturing. For example, the production of recycled-content paper saves trees, energy and water usage, and landfill space. The loop is closed when that recycled-content paper is purchased and re-recycled. Here is a simple diagram that illustrates how a green purchase closes the recycling loop.

Office Recycling

Unwanted papers discarded in office recycling bin. Campus wide recycling is sent off to recycling plant.


Recycled content is used to manufacturer new copy paper. Ideally, this paper contains 100% recycled content.

Green Purchase

UIS Department purchases 100% recycled copy paper.Repeat cycle.

By making a Green Purchase, the UIS Department in the example above closed the recycling loop, finalizing the saving of trees, energy, water and landfill space.

Learn More: For a general overview of the benefits of the recycling process, visit the EPA Website on Municipal Solid Waste Recycling.

Why was the Green Purchasing Guide (GPG) developed?

During the Fall 2007 semester, students from the Environmental Studies program completed a systematic environmental audit of the faculty and staff offices in CPAA. Their goal was to help identify ways in which we could make our college operations “greener”.

By recommending specific recycled or energy saving products, the College of Public Affairs and Administration hopes to assist your office in making environmentally preferable purchasing decisions.

What Products Should I Buy?

The GPG is a recommend list of commonly used office products that contain a high percentage of recycled material. By purchasing an item featured on the GPG, you will know you are making a good choice. If you need to purchase an item from a category not outlined in the guide, here are some hints to help you make an environmentally-preferable purchase.

Look for the Recycled Icon Recycled Product Icon

When browsing the iBuy website or strolling the aisles at an office supply store, look for products marked with the Recycled icon. This icon indicates a product containing recycled materials. Choose carefully; two seemingly identical items may contain different amounts of recycled content. Look for the highest percentage of post-consumer waste.

Choose Post-Consumer Waste

Choose a product containing Post-Consumer waste over one containing Pre-Consumer waste. Post-Consumer Waste has already completed the recycling loop. Pre-Consumer waste is another term for manufacturing byproducts that would have been re-purposed anyway.

Buy Remanufactured

Remanufactured or refurbished products have been repaired or refilled for continued use. Remanufactured printer ink and toner cartridges are less expensive, and reusing them keeps waste out of the landfill. Remember to close the recycling loop by returning empty toner cartridges to the manufacturer for reuse.

Did you know? You can place empty toner cartridges in your outgoing mailbox, and Campus Mail Services will make sure they are sent out for recycling.

Other Green Features

Look for items that can be recycled or reused after use. For example, vinyl 3- ring binders are not recyclable. Can you accomplish the same goal with a recyclable paper folder instead? Products marked Biodegradable, Low V.O.C. or manufactured with Alternative Energy are also desirable.

Compiled by Rose Schweikhart Cranson, July 2, 2008