4.15 Green Purchasing

Last Revised Date
Thursday, April 1, 2021 - 7:30 am

Policy Information

Policy Number: 4.15 Effective Date: February 2012
Responsible Unit: Financial Services - Purchasing Last Revised Date: April 2021
Phone: 520-621-1747 Email: contactpacs@fso.arizona.edu

Purpose and Summary

The University of Arizona is committed to the stewardship of the environment and to reducing the University's dependence on non-renewable energy. These "Green Purchasing" policies and procedures support the University's commitment to sustainability. The goal of this policy is to reduce the adverse environmental impact of our purchasing decisions by buying goods and services from manufacturers and vendors who share our commitment to the environment.
The aim of this environmental purchasing strategy is to develop policies consistent with these Principles:

  1. Minimize the consumption of non-replaceable natural resources by reviewing current and proposed future usage and evaluating the pros and cons of alternatives.
  2. Seek alternatives to products and processes that are detrimental to the environment by using more "environmentally friendly" products and processes.
  3. Minimize waste, including: any packaging, waste produced by the product (or service) in questions, and waste generated by the eventual disposal of the product.
  4. Maximize the reuse and recycling of materials.
  5. Stimulate demand for "environmentally friendly" products by letting manufacturers and suppliers know environmental performance we expect in products.


This policy applies to all University locations and units, including all University extensions, satellite locations, and off-site campus units, both domestic and international.


  1. Green Purchasing: The method whereby environmental and social considerations are given similar weight to the price, availability, and performance criteria that colleges and universities use to make purchasing decisions. Green purchasing is also known as "environmentally preferred purchasing (EPP), green procurement, affirmative procurement, eco-procurement, and environmentally responsible purchasing", particularly within the US Federal Government Agencies. Green purchasing minimizes negative environmental and social effects through the use of environmentally friendly products.


  1. The Chief Procurement Officer has determined that transactions not exceeding $25,000 are impracticable to monitor for compliance with this policy. Departments are encouraged to make every effort to comply with this policy when making purchases less than $25,000.


  1. Desktop computers, notebooks, and monitors purchased should meet all Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) environmental criteria designated as "gold" as contained in the IEEE 1680 Standard for the Environmental Assessment of Personal Computer Products.
  2. Copiers and printers purchased should be compatible with the use of recycled content and remanufactured products.
  3. All electrical products purchased by UA shall meet the US EPA Energy Star certification when available and practicable. When products with Energy Star labels are not available, products that are in the upper 25 percent of energy efficiency as designated by the Federal Energy Management Program should be used.
  4. When acquiring vehicles, the University shall purchase/lease less polluting alternatives to diesel, such as compressed natural gas, biobased fuels, hybrids, electric batteries, and fuel cells, as available and suitable for the use intended.
  5. When acquiring or replacing inefficient interior or exterior lighting, energy efficient equipment shall be purchased.


  1. Purchase only the most water efficient appliances available. This includes, but is not limited to, high performance fixtures like toilets, low-flow faucets and aerators, and upgraded irrigation systems.

Toxins and Pollutants

  1. Cleaning solvents should be biodegradable, phosphate free, and citrus-based when their use will not compromise quality of service.
  2. Industrial and institutional cleaning products that meet Green Seal certification standards or environmental prefer ability and performance shall be purchased or required to be used by janitorial contractors.
  3. All surfactants and detergents used shall be readily biodegradable and shall not contain phosphates.
  4. Vacuum cleaners that meet the requirements of the Carpet and Rug Institute's "Green Label Testing Program - Vacuum Cleaner Criteria" (capable of capturing 96 percent of particulates measuring 0.3 microns and operating with a sound level less than 70dba) shall be used by in-house staff and required for janitorial contractors.
  5. Whenever possible, products and equipment should not contain lead or mercury. For products that contain lead or mercury, preference should be given to those products with lower quantities of these metals and to vendors with established lead and mercury recovery programs.
  6. Pest control shall be managed through prevention - physical and mechanical - and through the purchase of environmentally friendly products. As a last resort, use of the least toxic pest control substance is required.

Biobased Products

  1. Vehicle fuels made from non-wood, plant-based contents such as vegetable oils are encouraged.
  2. Paper, paper products, and construction products made from non-wood, plant-based contents such as agricultural crops and residues are encouraged.


  1. Thirty percent post-consumer waste recycled paper with a brightness factor of 88 for all applications shall be the standard when the price is comparable, quality of service is not compromised nor the health and safety of employees prejudiced.
  2. When specifying asphalt concrete, aggregate base or Portland Cement concrete for road construction projects, recycled, reusable, or reground materials shall be used when practicable.
  3. The use of reclaimed stone and brick and the use of secondary or recycled aggregates is encouraged.
  4. Transportation products, including signs, cones, parking stops, delineators, channelizers, and barricades shall contain the highest postconsumer content practicable.
  5. Products that are durable, long lasting, reusable, or refillable are preferred whenever feasible.


  1. Packaging that is reusable, recyclable, or compostable is preferred, when suitable uses and programs exist, as is eliminating packaging or using the minimum amount necessary for product protection to the greatest extent practicable.

Green Building

  1. Green purchasing concepts shall be integrated into architectural designs, final construction documents, and the final construction of all University buildings and renovations of property or facilities owned by the University. All buildings and renovations undertaken by the University shall follow green building practices for design, construction, and operations, where appropriate, as described in the LEED Rating System.
  2. When maintaining buildings, products such as paint, carpeting, adhesives, furniture and casework with the lowest amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), highest recycled content, and low or no formaldehyde shall be used when practicable.
  3. All carpet distributors and/or manufacturers of carpet installed at the University shall have a carpet recycling plan that is approved by the University.
  4. The use of chlorofluorocarbon and halon-containing refrigerants, solvents, and other products shall be phased out, and new purchases of heating/ventilating/air conditioning, refrigeration, insulation and fire suppression systems shall not contain them.


  1. All landscape renovations, construction, and maintenance performed by internal staff members or contractors providing landscaping services shall employ sustainable landscape management techniques for design, construction, and maintenance whenever possible. This includes, but is not limited to, integrated pest management, drip irrigation, composting, and use of mulch and compost that give preference to those produced from regionally generated plant debris and/or food waste programs.
  2. Landscape structures constructed of recycled content materials are encouraged. The amount of impervious surfaces in the landscape shall be limited, whenever practicable. Permeable substitutes, such as permeable asphalt or pavers, are encouraged for walkways, patios, and driveways.
  3. Plants should be selected to minimize waste by choosing species that are appropriate to the microclimate. Native and drought-tolerant plants that require no or minimal watering once established should be purchased.


  1. These policies are designed to do the most good for the resources expended. When the cost of following the policies outweighs their benefits, a variance/waiver may be obtained through Procurement and Contracting Services.
  2. The Chief Procurement Officer or his designee has the authority to waive any requirements of this policy.

* Please note that sections titled Frequently Asked Questions and Related Information are provided solely for the convenience of users and are not part of the official University policy.