The most important decision we can make in terms of resource management is often our first decision. Taking a moment to reconsider alternative options to purchasing brand new items such as renting or buying secondhand has far-reaching benefits; by avoiding waste, we prevent the need for disposal, which saves money and energy and preserves the environment. In addition to a "Waste Not, Want Not" mentality, consumers should become aware of alternative green products available and their benefits. At IU, we begin to think about sustainable procurement by examining if we need to purchase, and if so, how can we make informed purchasing decisions. With proper strategies in place, achieving a sustainable No-Waste Cycle is a much more manageable goal.
Learn more about how IU is reducing waste through purchasing initiatives and policies:
Green Procurement Guide
- The ability to choose between different products is what gives us the power to make change. This guide is designed to educate Indiana University consumers about the opportunities each of us have to question the potential impacts of university product offerings, and make informed choices when working through the university’s purchasing system. Access the Green Purchasing Guide.
Sustainable Purchasing at IU
- RPS Discount Refill Policy: At any RPS dining facility, you can fill any reusable container with any soda or tea for just 59 cents!
- Old Growth Tree Policy: Indiana University has eliminated all old-growth wood products from the purchasing plans of all IU campuses.
- Energy Star Qualified Electronics: This policy was created in 2008 concerning all energy consuming products, appliances and equipment purchased by the University, specifying this equipment to be Energy Star Qualified whenever possible or practical.
- LEED Silver Certification: The University has committed to a policy that sets a benchmark for all new structures to be constructed to achieve a LEED silver certification as defined by the U.S. Green Building Council. This certification specifies:
- Ceiling Tiles: Indiana University has a contract with USG that allows Indiana University to recycle old ceiling tiles that have been replaced. Indiana University palletizes the old ceiling tiles, USG then sends a truck to pick up the pallets at no cost, and then USG recycles the old tiles back in to production. The only cost to Indiana University is to palletize the tiles.
- Carpet: The Architects Office currently uses CRI Green Label Plus certified carpet when new carpeting needs to be applied in academic buildings. In addition, carpet still in use in academic buildings that is not Green Seal certified is recycled after replacement through a contract with Interface.
- Floor Care Products: The Indiana Memorial Union on the Bloomington campus no longer cleans and polishes its floor using wax product. By switching to grain stone disks, this has eliminated the need to purchase certain cleaning products. In those instances where floor-cleaning products are needed the Indiana Memorial Union purchases water-based products and have low or no levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s). The Building Services division also purchases green floor cleaning products, as they contain low-zinc amounts and are packaged in recycled material. Residential Programs and Services (RPS) also use Green Seal EcoLab floor cleaning products in compliance with LEED standards.
- Lawn Care: The Architect’s Office uses mulch that is shredded native hardwood bark and must contain a minimum of 25% organic material. The Architects Office has also taken steps to eliminate products that use rainforest wood (i.e. teak or mahogany) or other products from our university site and landscape standards. Additionally, the Physical Plants Campus Division also uses hardwood bark mulch and organic fertilizers in certain instances.
- Lighting: The Architect’s Office, Residential and Program Services, the Indiana Memorial Union, and Building Services all utilize compact fluorescent lighting where possible. In certain instances, incandescent lighting is used to maintain the ambience of certain rooms or because compact fluorescent bulbs are not made for those specifications, specifically within the Indiana Memorial Union. Furthermore, the compact fluorescent lighting utilized is Green Seal certified, as they contain low mercury levels and can disposed like a typical incandescent lights.
- Paper: Over 50% of the paper that Indiana University - Bloomington uses is recycled paper. The Indiana University - Bloomington letterhead is made of 15% post-consumer recycled paper. Printing Services is the largest generator of good recyclable paper on campus
- Vehicles: The Indiana University Motor Pool and IUPUI Motor Pool both currently utilizes one Toyota Prius in its fleet, which gets on average 60 MPG. In addition, all campus buses on the Bloomington Campus utilize a biodiesel fuel mix, called B20, which contains 20% soy biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel. The Indiana University Motor Pool also recycles oil, antifreeze, and tires. They store the oil in a 500-gallon tank at the facility. When it is full, Crystal Clean comes and pumps out the oil from the tank. The tires are recycled by High-speed, $2 for small tires and $3 for larger tires. All underground tanks at the Motor Pool are double-walled and monitored for leaks at all times.
After waste reduction, the best way we can reduce the impact of our trash is to reuse it. Many of the items we consider waste aren’t waste at all - furniture, office supplies, home goods - if it’s clean and not too broken, someone somewhere wants it. Indiana University has taken measures to provide spaces and opportunities for this exchange.
IU Surplus Stores provide services for the proper disposal of unneeded university property. By returning surplus items into circulation with sales to university departments and to the general public, Surplus Stores plays an important part in sustainability efforts at IU.
The Hoosier to Hoosier Community Sale (H2H) is a huge resale effort that takes place every year in August. The program collects reusable items during student move-out, sells them back to students and community members, and donates the proceeds to local charities.
If an item cannot be reused, please recycle it. IU Bloomington campus offers an extensive recycling collection system that processes over 2 million pounds of material every year. The recent progress with increasing the availability of outdoor recycling bins and programs such as "Greening Cream and Crimson Game Day" and "No Bin Left Behind", recycling is coming to the forefront of waste reduction.
- Many vendors contracted with Indiana University offer a variety of sustainable recycling programs for specific products. These programs not only reduce material waste but improve energy and resource costs through streamlining recycling practices.
- The IU Surplus Store will pick up any surplus items at no charge to your department and will ensure their proper disposal either by reselling or recycling. Here is some information about sending small items via IU mail. If you have any questions or comments, please contact them by telephone at 855-2475, or by email at email@example.com.
- HoosiertoHoosier Community Sale Donate the old items you don't need anymore during spring move out or through out the year during the many collection pick up dates. To schedule a pick up, please fill out the pick up request form or email firstname.lastname@example.org in advance.
- Standard campus recycling receptacles can receive any of the following:
- Paper and Paperboard
- Aluminum, Steel and Tin
- Magazines, Books, and Catalogs
- Plastics 1-7