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Certifications and standards

Procurement and Contract Services provides a variety of paper products available for purchase, many of which have recycled content. The following certifications and standards can help guide sustainable procurement options:

FSC ensures a chain of custody on certified products that source paper from either recycled or responsibly managed forests. FSC is an independent, non-profit organization that protects forests for future generations. 

Green Seal is non-profit environmental standard that uses a lifecycle approach to assess environmental impact, providing certification for a variety of products and services including paper and cleaning products.

The Rainforest Alliance certification program focuses on farming and forestry practices that enhance forest protection, climate-smart practices, human rights, and sustainable livelihoods. 

SFI is a solutions-oriented sustainability organization that collaborates on forest-based conservation and community initiatives that demonstrate and enhance our shared quality of life.

Things to consider

Before making a purchasing decision, consider these guiding principles of sustainable procurement:

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Buy credibly certified products

  • Make sure to request options that are third-party certified such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Green Seal, Rainforest Alliance Certified, or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Certified. 

  • TIP: The W-Store sells FSC-certified paper as its standard, making it easy and convenient to find on campus!
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Buy circular

  • Look for products that integrate post-consumer-recycled paper. A box of paper with 30% recycled content is cheaper than purchasing virgin paper! Visit the Procurement & Contract Services site for pricing and information.
  • Have efforts been made to limit excess packaging and resulting waste?
  • Can the product and/or packaging be disposed of through existing campus waste programs? Refer to the Shift:Zero Sorting Guide if unsure.
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Minimize unnecessary purchases

  • Discuss with the office/department if there truly is a need to print and explore paperless options. There are a growing number of offices on campus that are opting for paperless processes on campus, many of whom are in the Green Office program and would be happy to share insights.