Step One: Environmentally Responsible Purchasing Basics
Environmentally Reponsible Purchasing is defined by U.S. Executive Order 12873 as, products or services
that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. This comparison may
consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance, or disposal of the product or service.
Step Two: Prioritize your efforts
Given time, financial and other constraints not every purchase can be a Green purchase. Concentrate initial efforts on the most
frequently purchased products and services or those with the greatest environmental impact. Frequently purchased items at the University include office supplies, such as
paper, pens, computers, etc. Purchases that have the highest potential for environmental impact include food, vehicles and office equipment.
Step Three: Evaluate environmental impacts of purchases
The University of Delaware's Environmentally Responsible Purchasing Guidelines call for a balance between performance, price, availability, requirements of the end user and environmental
considerations. Products and services can have a range of environmental impacts, and it is important to gain an understanding of how the product or service affects the
environment. Does the product/service help conserve natural resources? Does the product minimize pollution through energy efficiency or waste prevention? Does the
product contain minimal packaging or have high amounts of recycled content? Can the product be easily recycled and is it durable?
Step Four: Consider the life-cycle of the product
Ask the question: What are the environmental impacts of a particular product from production to disposal? This involves considering the environmental impacts during
manufacturing, transportation, use and disposal of a product or service.
Step Five: Utilize outside resources to identify alternatives
Blue Hen Market enables individuals to identify environmentally preferable products by punching out to the websites of University-identified suppliers. However, when time permits, utilize
outside resources to identify environmentally preferable products that generate cost savings and which have less severe impacts on the environment. Organizations
and government agencies certify and list products and services that are environmentally preferable. This can eliminate time evaluating products and services. These
organizations include the Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.energystar.gov/purchasing ),
GreenSeal (http://www.greenseal.org ), GreenGuard (http://www.greenguard.org ),
Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, (http://www.epeat.net ) Scientific Certification
Systems (http://www.scscertified.com ) and EnvironmentalChoice (http://www.environmentalchoice.com ).
Step Six: Ensure the product is practicable
By practicable, the University means that the performance of the product is satisfactory, the price is reasonable and the product is available.