Linens, Upholstery, and Textiles

Description of Environmental Purchasing Policy

The Linens and Upholstery section of the Environmental Purchasing Policy covers the following Purchasing Services commodity clusters: Flags/Banners, Linens/Misc., and Uniforms.

Purchasers are encouraged to procure textiles made from organic fabrics including organic cotton, soybean, bamboo or hemp. Where organic textiles are not available, purchasers are encouraged to procure items made from recycled fabric, items made with plastic (PET) content, and/or items certified sustainable by the GreenGuard Environmental Institute and the California Gold Sustainable Carpet Standard. If possible, textiles should be certified organic and Fair Trade.

Purchasers should refer to the NYU Safety Policy Manual for mandatory instructions on fire safety requirements for interior finished materials.

Waste Reducing Alternatives

Reusing and refurbishing existing items is always the best policy choice.

What to Consider When Procuring Textiles

See the Interior Furnishings section of this Guide (Section 5) for more information about different types of certification for Linens, Upholstery, and Textiles.

Commercial Cotton: Purchasers should avoid conventional, industrially produced cotton, as it often contains pesticides, and its production is harmful to the environment.

Organic and Fair Trade Certification: Certified organic fibers, and fibers grown with minimal use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers, are better for both environmental and human health. When materials must be sourced internationally, Fair Trade certification ensures it has been grown, processed, and traded with fair labor practices.  When purchasing fibers, look for these certifications. Purchasers should avoid products made in other countries if they are made without Fair Trade Certification.

Documentation: When you’re working with a company, make sure they provide the proper certification for the standard they say they uphold.

Possible Vendors

Below is a list of vendors in the NYU area that offer environmentally-friendly linens, upholstery and textiles. This is not a comprehensive list, and the Sustainability Task Force has not formally evaluated the vendors listed. However, based on thoughtful research, we believe that the following vendors are a good starting point for purchasers in search of sustainable products and services.


If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions of vendors for inclusion in future versions of the Environmental Purchasing Guide, please leave a comment in the box below.

1 Comment »

  1. Bethany O'Neill said

    Are there any places where old linens/textiles can be taken for recycling/repurposing? There may not be many places that accept used textiles or apparel, but if there is, it would definitely be great to include that here.

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