Professional Services

Description of Environmental Purchasing Policy

The Professional Services section of the Environmental Purchasing Policy covers a wide range of services falling under the Purchasing Services Professional Services commodity cluster, including carpet cleaning, carpet repair, clothes cleaning, janitorial, moving services, party rentals, pest control, and plumbing.

The Policy encourages purchasers to contract with service providers who are committed to minimizing their environmental impact, and emphasizes that, where applicable, repair of a product is always preferable to buying a new one.  Purchasers should communicate frequently with providers, and make clear that they prioritize sustainability.

Because of the wide scope of this section of the Policy, this portion of the Guide will be divided by service type, rather than follow the structure of the rest of the Guide.

Carpet Cleaning and Janitorial Services

The Environmental Purchasing Policy for Carpet Cleaning and Janitorial Services requires that purchasers contract with cleaning service providers that minimize the use of chemicals and other toxins in their cleaning.

Every cleaning service provider contracted by an NYU purchaser should have a Building Specific Green Cleaning Plan as described by the Green Seal Standard GS-42 for Cleaning Services.  The Plan must include a detailed description of the steps the cleaning service provider will take to protect environmental health and safety.  Additionally, the Policy requires that cleaning service providers ensure that their staff is trained in site-specific product use procedures that will minimize risk to environmental and human health.

What to Consider when Contracting with Providers of Janitorial Services

Please see the Janitorial Supplies section (Section 6) of the Environmental Purchasing Guide for information on reducing the use of toxins in cleaning supplies.

Suggested Vendors

Harvard Maintenance is the only New York cleaning service certified by Green Seal. They are in the NYU database.

CBS, NYU’s principal cleaning service provider, has a GreenSafe program and a substantial number of greening practices.  They use a number of Green Seal certified products, and take steps to protect environmental and human health.  For more information, see this report on the CBS Greensafe program.  Carlos Zafra, CBS’ Senior District Manager, is knowledgeable about their environmental practices and can be contacted at

Additional Resources and Information

Green Seal Standard GS-42 For Industrial Cleaning Services

Clothes Cleaning and Laundry

The Environmental Purchasing Policy requires that, whenever possible, purchasers contract with clothes cleaning services that use water as the main cleaning solvent, and when dry cleaning is necessary, that they avoid dry cleaners who use toxic solvents.  The Policy also recommends that purchasers contract with cleaning services that use water-efficient front-loading washing machines, and give preference to wet cleaning over dry cleaning.  When dry cleaning is necessary, the Policy recommends that purchasers seek out Liquid Carbon Dioxide Cleaning services.

What to Consider when Procuring Laundering Services

Dry Cleaning versus Wet Cleaning: Dry cleaning is done using a solvent other than water to dissolve dirt and stains.  Often, the solvents used in conventional dry cleaning processes are highly toxic, so wet cleaning is environmentally preferable to dry cleaning whenever possible.

Solvents: Traditionally, the most common dry cleaning solvent has been perchloroethylene, or “perc,” which is a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) and a known carcinogen.  VOCs are carbon-based chemicals that easily evaporate at room temperature; they are a major source of indoor air pollution and are detrimental to both environmental and human health.  Other toxic solvents commonly used in dry cleaning include D-5 or siloxane and hydrocarbon.  Purchasers should absolutely avoid these solvents.  Liquid carbon dioxide is the only acceptable dry cleaning solvent, as it does minimal harm to environmental and human health.

Possible Vendors

Below is a list of vendors in the NYU area that offer environmentally-friendly laundering services. 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.

Cleaner Website Notes In NYU Database?
Green Apple Cleaners The only NYC dry cleaner using LCDC Methods.


My Fresh Shirt Does not use LCDC cleaning methods, but prioritizes sustainability in other ways. No

Additional Resources and Information

Information on LCDC Cleaning

Washing Machines and Dryers

The Environmental Purchasing Policy mandates that all purchasers buy washing machines and dryers that are Energy Star certified for energy and water efficiency.  They should also look for Ecologo certification on detergent and fabric softeners, which have fewer chemicals that damage environmental and human health.

Additionally, the Policy encourages purchasers to make every effort to procure front-loading washing machines and laundry products that are Design for the Environment certified. The EPA’s DfE Industrial and Institutional Laundry Partnership works closely with manufacturers of commercial laundry products to develop safer, more sustainable detergents and cleaning systems. The EPA’s criteria include lower toxicity, more rapid biodegradation, lower bioaccumulation potential, and fewer toxic byproducts.

What to Consider when Purchasing Washers and Dryers

Costs versus benefits: While front-loading washing machines may be slightly more expensive to purchase in the first place, they are far more cost-effective in the long run.  Just one Energy Star commercial washer saves over $100 per year compared with a conventional washer. To calculate your savings, visit this website.

Possible Vendors

Laundry Detergent

The following companies are the EPA DfE partners located nearest to New York City.  Purchasers are also encouraged to ask their regular suppliers of laundry detergent if they have any environmentally preferable products, and to convey their strong preferences for these products.

Energy Star Certified Washers

The following stores sell Energy Star Certified Clothes washers.  Additional vendors can be found on the Energy Star website.

Pest Control

The Environmental Purchasing Policy for Pest Control requires that purchasers contract with pest control personnel that will utilize Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques to minimize pesticide use and risks to human health.  It also requires that pesticides used at NYU be EPA registered and labeled, and forbids the use of any of the toxins listed on New York City’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Guide’s Toxic Constituent Target List.  Finally, the Policy suggests that purchasers strive to procure bio-based pesticides such as pheromones and microbial pesticides, as they are safer for both human and environmental health than chemical pesticides.

What to Consider when Contracting Pest Control Services

Your Purchasing Power: Ask the pest control personnel you contract with about the ingredients in their supplies, and indicate your strong preference for environmentally preferable products. If they cannot ensure that the ingredients of their pesticides are free of all toxins listed on the Toxic Constituent Target List (see Section 6), consider looking for a different vendor.   Similarly, they should be able to indicate to you the Integrated Pest Management techniques that they will use.  Make sure that your service providers know that sustainability is a priority for you.

Possible Vendors

The following vendors offer Green Seal Certified Pest Control upon request.
Remember to ask! You can find an extended list here.

Moving Services and Party Rentals

The Policy states that purchasers should contract only with companies who minimize their environmental impact by using the most fuel-efficient vehicles available, as outlined in the Vehicles section of the Environmental Purchasing Policy and this accompanying Guide.  If it is not possible to find a party rental or moving company with an explicit environmental priority, purchasers should exercise their purchasing power by communicating their strong preference for sustainable practices and asking the company to inform them of any future developments in the company’s commitment to sustainable business practices.

Possible Vendors

As it is a developing field, no party rental companies with explicit sustainability priorities could currently be found.  Purchasers are encouraged to ask vendors about their efforts to reduce their environmental impact, and support the development of green policies in the future.

The following New York City-area moving companies have stated that sustainability is part of their mission. 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.

Additional Resources and Information

Green Movers USA


The Environmental Purchasing Policy urges purchasers to do business with plumbers who are certified by the Green Plumbers USA accreditation program, which promotes water conservation, energy efficiency, and reduced greenhouse emissions. If you have a prior relationship with a plumber who is not a certified Green Plumber, encourage him/her to become accredited through the Green Plumbers’ 32-hour training program.

Possible Vendors

The following plumbing services have members on staff who have completed at least one part of Green Plumbers’ certification program, indicating an interest in sustainability issues.

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.


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