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Green Purchasing at RPI
By Otto von Wachter

TO: All Department Heads
FROM: EcoLogic
DATE: Nov 18, 1996
RE: Greening Initiative

In our continuing efforts to green the campus, EcoLogic (R.P.I.'s environmental club) has explored ways to make departments on campus more environmentally friendly, especially through the purchasing of recycled and environmentally sensitive products

We have enclosed information on cost effective, recycled products that are available through Staples and Alling & Cory. In addition we have outlined some simple steps your department can take to increase its environmental friendliness and reduce costs.

If you are skeptical of recycled paper or products, we would like to share some information we found in our research.

Myth: Recycled paper is lower quality and jams copiers. Fact: Groundwood recycled paper (Unity DP) is made from shorter fibers than other recycled and non-recycled paper. However, it works excellent in copiers (we have tested it ourselves, and have talked to other schools that use it)

Myth: Recycled paper and recycled products are more expensive. Fact: Groundwood recycled paper (Unity DP) is actually cheaper. Other recycled paper is somewhat more expensive. Recycled office products are usually comparably priced to non-recycled products.

We appreciate your cooperation in this initiative and we hope that you find the ideas below useful. If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please contact Steve Trowbridge (x2284, greening@rpi.edu) or Otto von Wachter (x8911, vonwao@rpi.edu).


Greening Initiative Recommendations

Objective 1: Purchase recycled copier paper

Table 1: Recommended recycled copier paper (Unity DP & Great White) versus Tidal DP
Price per case Recycled Content Recommended Uses Advantages Disadvantages
Unity DP $ 20.35 100%
(50% post consumer)
Memos, Class materials (handouts, syllabi, exams), Drafts Excellent for copying and double sided copying
Lowest price
Earth white color
Great White $ 29.68 25%
(xx% post consumer)
Memos to the President's Office
Important letters & reports
Same appearance and performance as Tidal DP Higher price
Tidal DP $ 23.20 None No recycled content
Salvaged Paper Free Drafts, Scratch pads Free One sided uses only

* Prices quoted by Alling and Cory, may vary

  • Estimate amounts of Unity DP and Great White based on department needs and recommended uses on table
  • Paper can be ordered from Alling and Cory, the way most departments now purchase their paper.
  • If your copier has two or more trays, fill one of them with Unity DP and one of them with white copy paper (Great White or Tidal)
  • Post included poster next to copier(s) and provide information on where the different paper is stored.
  • Inform staff of the green purchasing initiative and encourage use of recycled and salvaged paper.

Objective 2: Reduce and reuse paper

  • Set up a bin next to copier for reusing one sided copies for drafts and to make scratch pads.
  • Make double sided copies whenever possible. Provide instructions on making double sided copies on included poster (from copier manual).
  • Encourage email memos instead of paper memos. Set up emailing lists within department and department groups to facilitate use of email communication

Objective 3: Purchase green office products

Table 2: Recycled products available through Staples
1996 Staples Catalog Description price
Greencycle writing pads p.175
8 1/2 x 11 3/4
50 sheets
50% recycled
$ 24.07 /DZ
recycled post-it notes p. 172
various sizes
No. 10 recycled white envelopes p. 120
100% recycled
recycled catalog and clasp envelopes p. 119
100% recycled
ecowriter #2 pencils p. 189 $ 2.69 /DZ

Some criteria for green products: recycled content, durability and reusability, non- toxic materials (ink, correction fluid, non-rechargeable batteries), energy consumption (light bulbs), and recyclability.

Although some "green" products are available through Staples, there are many more that aren't. If you are interested in sources for other "green" products, contact the greening coordinator.

Also, if you discover any other green products that other departments might be able to use, or if you have any other greening suggestions, please let us know!

Greening Initiative Questionnaire

Please complete this questionnaire after your department has implemented and evaluate this greening initiative.

Are you purchasing recycled paper, and if so how much (as a percentage of each total paper) of each type?

Are you satisfied with the performance of the recycled paper? What aspects did your department like or dislike of the Unity DP and/or Great White?

Have you been able to reduce paper consumption, and if so, by how much?

What does your department currently recycle (paper, aluminum cans, etc)? How effective do you think the recycling program is?

What other "green" products are you purchasing?

Do you have any other comments or ideas to further green R.P.I.?

Thank you for completing this questionnaire. Please return to:
Steve Trowbridge, Greening Coordinator
Recycling Service Building

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Steve Davis daviss@rpi.edu
(Greening Coordinator)
Webmaster: devrid@rpi.edu

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