An informational poster to encourage the use of reusable shipping containers instead of cardboard.
What we buy has significant impacts. Being deliberate about your purchases—considering how the product is made, where it comes from, and where it will ultimately go—can make a big difference.
Catering and Events
Consider the following questions before you buy:
Do you really need it?
Is there a reusable or refurbished option for the item you want to buy?
Reuse is the best option, as it does not require the use of new materials, and it allows you to extend the life of an item.
When you are done with the item, will it be usable by someone else? If not, can it be recycled or composted?
The end of life of a product can be just as important as its manufacturing. Manufacturers can have a role in end of life by designing for recyclability, compostability, and reuse. These attributes will reduce the materials need for production in the future and keep items out of the waste stream.
Is the item you wish to buy produced locally? Does a local option exist?
Locally produced items not only support our local economy, they also ensure that emissions associated with transportation are reduced.
Is the item made of recycled content?
By using recycled material, it is possible to cut unnecessary costs, drive demand for recycled and low-impact material streams, and save energy.
Is the item produced by a company who provides fair and healthy working conditions?
A company’s social responsibility outlook will impact the products that it makes. It helps to buy from companies that consider their social responsibility for all products produced, not just the ones we buy. Worker conditions are an important part of this as well.
How long-lasting and/or durable is the item? Will you be able to use it for a long time/more than once?
A long product lifespan can be beneficial for both the environment and our wallets because it means that fewer materials need to be extracted and produced.
Does the item have any hazardous components?
Toxicity levels are important to consider because materials associated with the products we use can damage the environment as well as our own health.
How far will the product have to travel to get to you? Is a closer option available?
Product transportation often raises the emissions associated with a product.
Does the item come with a lot of packaging? Is it possible to choose an option without packaging?
Product packaging quickly becomes waste. Using recycled material for packaging and ensuring packaging can be recycled preserves the limited resources made available to us while saving money.
Meeting our goals
In 2022, the Global Electronics Council recognized Yale as a leader in sustainable electronics procurement with a EPEAT Purchaser Award. By purchasing electronics with the EPEAT ecolabel, Yale seeks to address the lifecycle impacts of the electronics we purchase, including computers, displays, printers, copiers, network equipment, mobile phones, servers, photovoltaic modules, inverters, and televisions. Products bearing the EPEAT label are more energy-efficient, less toxic, longer-lasting, and easier to recycle than products that do not meet EPEAT criteria, while also addressing labor and human rights issues along the supply chain.
Poster promoting the university surplus exchange for an office audience.
Poster promoting the university surplus exchange.
A short promotional video for the Sustainable Procurement guide.
This video shows just how much waste we create with disposable food containers and encourages us to provide our own reusable ones.
Learn more about the Eli Surplus Exchange, which encourages Yale units to reuse and recycle current University resources.
Learn more about Green Event Certifications offered by the university.
Learn more about the requirements for getting your workplace Green Certified.
A guide to sustainable procurement for a wide variety of common university resources.