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Sustainable Purchasing

Zero Waste begins with smart materials. Purchasing plays a huge role in the efforts to promote sustainability and achieve the four goals of the Climate Commitment. Everything that is purchased to be used in campus departments leaves a foot-print or has the potential to create waste.

To offset the effects of carbon emissions and to eliminate waste, applying strategies from the UIC Climate Action Implementation Plan to the procurement process will contribute to the sustainability initiatives on campus. Purchasing items that are made of recycled material or utilizes green energy are ideal. This guide will provide basic steps for purchasing materials for departmental use.

Does the item already exist? Heading link

Before you buy new, check to see if another department is willing to share or donate it!

Office supplies can be found at our Free Store: email

labware can be found at our Lab Share: email

Surplus items such as furniture can be found at the Surplus Warehouse at 1515 West 15th Street, Chicago 60608

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 7:30am-11:30pm and 12:30-3:30pm

Phone:  312-585-9113



How to Buy Green On iBUY Heading link

iBUY is the online marketplace for purchasing goods and services at the University of Illinois. iBUY combines the use of Internet technology with procurement best practices to simplify the purchasing process and reduce costs. The Procurement process can be daunting and can make adhering to the goals of sustainability arduous but with the proper techniques buying sustainable will be a breeze.

iBUY is composed of different vendors that sell different products. The vendors are grouped into categories based off the products they sell (i.e. Dentistry, Office Supplies).

While perusing the catalogs for products of interest be sure to be mindful of what the product is made of and will be its long term effect after use.

Use the advance search feature and set the options to favor words or phrases such as (i.e. natural, recycle, green energy) to narrow the search and make it easy to isolate the products that are desired.

Getting Started Heading link

Student using a laptop

1. Choose a category

2. Choose a vendor

3. Tailor your search

What to Look For Heading link

When browsing the catalogs provided by the vendors adhere to the list of sustainable certifications that have been approved by certified scientists, researchers, and state and government agencies. To make the procurement process quicker UIC has compiled a list of acceptable green products for use on campus. These products have certification labels that makes identifying them easy. Please note that this will not apply to every product category. Listed below are the most used certifications.

Questions to Ask Yourself Heading link

Will this make waste?  Is there a reusable item that could be used instead?  If not, can it be recycled or re-used?  Is it made of plastics that can be recycled (for instance #6 Plastic Polystyrene cannot be recycled at UIC)?  Does it have recycled content? How much energy does this item use?

Best Vendors! Heading link

To maximize your search, it is ideal to choose the top rated vendors. A good vendor will provide a updated catalog, search options, suggestions of similar products, search memory, photos of the products and contact numbers. There are hundreds of vendors in iBUY, but for example, Office Max is the best vendor for offices supplies.

Preferences for Vendors Heading link

UIC wants all faculty, staff, students, businesses and affiliates to promote and engage in sustainable practices. Vendors are encouraged to offer sustainable products for sale or disclose any methods that they use in their everyday operations that attempts in reducing carbon emissions or conserves energy and eliminates waste.

When purchasing, keep in mind the operational processes that take place to produce products. All aspects of conservation aid in the fight for sustainability whether direct or indirect. Try to shop with vendors who practice sustainable methods in their everyday operations.

Vendors are given preference if the following is outlined on their proposal bid:

  1. Recycled Materials – converted waste materials into new materials and objects.
  2. Recycled Paper – a mixture of used and old paper that has been recycled.
  3. Environmental Preferable Supplies – products and services that have a lesser negative or reduced effect on human health and the environment.
  4. Procurement of Domestic Products – purchasing goods and services that were financed and sold in state.
  5. Illinois Agricultural Products – the use and purchase of agricultural products in state.

log into iBuy and start sustainably shopping!