Office Supplies

Explanation of Environmental Purchasing Policy

The Office Supplies section of the Environmental Purchasing Policy covers the following Purchasing Services commodity clusters: Miscellaneous Office Equipment, and Office Supplies.  According to the Policy, purchasers must use remanufactured ink and toner cartridges for all printers and copiers. The Policy additionally recommends that all supplies bought via Staples I-buy be labeled “eco-easy.”

Waste-Reducing Alternatives to Purchasing this Product

Often, departments order more office supplies than are actually needed.  When purchasing office supplies, think carefully about whether the quantity you are ordering is necessary.

Use digital methods of communication whenever possible – scan documents instead of copying them, whether for your records or to send to someone else, and take, share, and read notes on the computer rather than on paper.

Write on scrap paper rather than new notepads whenever possible.  Some offices have found it effective to have a place to collect all one-sided paper to be used as notepaper.

What to Consider when Purchasing Office Supplies

Energy efficiency: Any electronic office equipment should be certified energy efficient (see Section 1, Appliances and Electronics). Also, whenever possible, the manufacturing of the item should be conducted under energy efficient standards.

Composition: When purchasing office supplies, choose products that are made of non-toxic, recycled and recyclable materials. For paper products, the Chlorine Free Products Association (CFPA) is the standard to look for (for more information on sustainable paper products, see Section 9).

Durability: If an item is more durable, less waste is created, as that commodity will not have to be bought as often. Always look for more durable items with the longest guarantee possible.

Locally produced products: Whenever possible, procure locally produced products.

Packaging: Try to ensure before purchasing that the product will be delivered with only as much packaging as is absolutely necessary.

Suggested Vendors

It is NYU policy that all office supplies be ordered through NYU Supply Central/Staples. According to the Staples Vice President of Environmental Affairs, Staples is committed to developing and enhancing economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable business.  The Staples Eco-easy product list has a comprehensive offering of environmentally preferable office supplies, and can be accessed through i-Buy. For information on “eco-easy” products, visit this site.

Additional Resources

Javits-Wagner O’Day:  The JWOD Program creates jobs and training opportunities for people who are blind or have other severe disabilities. JWOD’s online “environmentally friendly products store” provides office supplies, including several CPG-designated items such as recycled-content clipboards.


1 Comment »

  1. Anna Antoniak said

    Staples has the great feature of noting which products are recycled (as well as whether the business are women- or minority-owned). They are also incredibly speedy and accommodating with returns. Does anyone use another supplier? I would be interested in hearing whether iBuy lists another office supply company and how they compare.

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