Sustainable Procurement

Contracts and Procurement seeks to increase awareness and enable the purchases of products with a reduced or minimal environmental impact as compared to other similar products/services that serve the same purpose.

We recognize the importance of being environmentally conscientious. We will reduce our negative impact on the environment through promoting and educating departments on the importance of selecting sustainable products and services and developing dialogue with our suppliers.

Our suppliers are encouraged to include products that promote environmentally friendly environmental stewardship in their online product catalog and faculty and staff members are empowered to select environmentally friendly products for their purchase requirements. Our buyers can also help with answering your questions and providing additional information.

Green Purchasing Best Practices

Faculty and staff can have a significant impact on the environment by simply selecting green products to meet their purchase requirements. Small changes toward the selection of green products can:

  • Stimulate market demand for greener products
  • Help the University meet its environmental goals
  • Improve worker safety and health
  • Reduce health and disposal costs

Potential Benefits of Sustainable Procurement:

  • More efficient and effective use of natural resources
  • Reducing the harmful impact of pollution and waste
  • Reducing the impact of hazardous substances of human health and the environment
  • Encouraging innovation
  • Providing strong signals to the sustainable products market

How Faculty and Staff can Contribute to Improving the Environment

Consolidate orders: By increasing the number of items ordered in a single order, you reduce the number of campus deliveries and packaging waste. Our suppliers use fewer shipping cartons. By reducing the number of deliveries made to your office, you are reducing fuel use, and carbon emissions.

Make use of electronic catalogs: Saves paper, eliminates the need to dispose of bulky catalogs every year, and frees up valuable desk.

Buy items which contain recycled material: We are all aware that there is recycled paper available, but did you know that there are binders, pens, pencils, and notebooks that contain recycled material? There is also flooring and construction material, office furniture, and playground equipment that employ recycled material.

Print on double sides: When printing and copying documents print double sided this saves paper.

Choose renewable resources: Lessen the demand for limited natural resources by making the renewable choice. Request vegetable based inks be used when printing your next brochure, or consider building materials obtained from sustainably harvested forests and are backed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Opt for the non-hazardous alternative: By purchasing alcohol thermometers as opposed to ones filled with mercury you can lessen disposal costs while removing the potential for a hazardous chemical spill. Likewise the purchase and use of non-toxic cleaning supplies, like those with the Green Seal improve worker safety by reducing exposure to noxious chemicals.

Look for the most energy efficient model: The US EPA Energy Star program rates and certifies hundreds of energy efficient products. By choosing Energy Star you are helping prevent global warming and promote cleaner air without sacrificing the product quality and performance you expect.

Buy locally: It takes fuel to transport goods. Proximity to production not only reduces the energy use required to bring the item to market, it also helps to support the local economy.

Buy only what you need: While it may appear economical to purchase in quantity, the truth is that often the cost to dispose of unused supplies, especially chemicals, far exceeds the original price of purchase.

Spread the word: Once you see how simple it is to "Buy Green" make sure that everyone else know too!



The State Agency Buy Recycled Campaign (SABRC) is a joint effort between the Department of General Services (DGS) and the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to implement State law. Public Contract Code (PCC) sections 12200–12320 require State agencies and the Legislature to purchase recycled-content products (RCP) instead of non-recycled-content products.

It is the CSU’s policy to promote environmentally responsible procurement practices.  Campuses are encouraged to comply with the Buy Recycle Campaign requirements by developing procedures that ensure the purchase of goods that contain recycled content or that may be recycled or reused when discarded.

Buy Recycle Content Requirements

Campus Responsibilities

The CSU Contracts and Procurement Manual requires that the campuses:

  1. Purchase RCPs instead of non-RCPs if fitness and quality are equal and the RCP is available at no more than the total cost of the non-RCP.
  2. Require all contractors to certify the recycled content of all RCP purchased.
  3. Attain the RCP procurement mandates.
  4. Submit Buy Recycle procurement reports annually.
  5. Establish purchasing practices that ensure the purchase of materials, goods, and supplies that may be recycled or reused when discarded.

Certification Requirements

The CSU is mandated to require all contractors/bidders to certify in writing the minimum percentage, if not the exact percentage of post-consumer material in the products, materials, goods, or supplies sold or offered to the CSU. This certification shall be furnished under penalty of perjury. Products with no recycled content do not require certification, however a contractor may choose to provide a certification stating that the product has zero recycled content.

View the Post-Consumer Recycled Content Matrix

To ensure that this requirement is passed on to the contractor, campuses should require contractors to provide certifications with their bids or proposals and to include a certification requirement in the General Provisions that are issued with each contract.

Once a product has been certified it does not need to be recertified until the recycled content of the product has changed from the amount previously certified.

For example, follow-on suppliers do not need to submit a certification if a valid certification for the same product has been submitted previously and is on file. For exceptions to the submittal of a recycle content certification, see Exceptions and Special Considerations below.

Exceptions and Special Considerations

Incidental Products:  Products resulting from Service or ITR contracts do not have to be reported if the value of the service or technology far exceeds the cost of the material content of the product. As an example, if a report is required to be delivered for the performance of a consultant contract and the labor cost of the consultant services far exceeds the value of the paper that the report is printed on, the paper does not have to be reported. The exception to this is if the material cost of the paper was separately identified.

In the event the material cost of a product is not insignificant, as compared to the value of the service or technology that went into the product, the value of the material should be reported. The value of the material may be determined by any reasonable method available and may be an estimated value. If there is no way to ascertain the material component of the cost, in this instance, then the entire price associated with that product may be reported.

Plastic Products:  All printer or duplication cartridges should be reported if they have 10% post-consumer material, or are remanufactured, or are backed by a vendor-offered recycle program.

Metal Products:  Unless virgin steel was specifically specified, all steel products that have been determined to fall within the metal products category should be reported as recycled. Certifications need not be required for steel products.

Compost:  All compost should be reported as recycled. For the Buy Recycled Procurement Report, in the Compost category, the All Reportable Purchases columns should always equal the RCP Purchases columns.

Certifications need not be required for compost.

Non-reportables Products:  Products that do not fall within one of the reportable categories should not be included in the Buy Recycled Report regardless of the recycled content. These products include wood products, textiles, masonry, aggregate, and concrete.

Refurbished/Remanufactured/Reused Products:  Any products that are so certified and fall within one of the reportable categories should be included in the Buy Recycled Procurement Report. For these types of products, a certification to the effect that it is a refurbished, remanufactured or reused product is sufficient, no recycle content data is required.

Tires:  At this time, only tires 16 inches and greater are known to be available that pass all applicable standards and specifications for retreaded tires.