Best practice: Prioritize purchases that come in bulk packaging.
About: Packaging causes a lot of unnecessary waste and often contains plastics or Styrofoam that is not possible to recycle at Waterloo. Reaching out to current suppliers may reveal a willingness to change their packaging procedures. For future suppliers, sustainable packaging practices can be incorporated into RFPs by requiring them to collect packaging for re-use after shipment17. Suppliers are more likely to minimize packaging if they must deal with it after.
At the same time, there should be a balance on not damaging the products themselves, which would have a much higher impact and cost than that of the packaging.
Post-consumer recycled packaging and recyclable packaging
Best practice: Prioritize post-consumer recycled packaging and recyclable packaging for packaging that is required.
About: Post-consumer packaging is made from recycled materials, which saves natural resources, meaning fewer plastics are ending up in the ocean and less mining is required. Recyclable packaging has similar benefits and means the packaging can be used to make new products18. Suppliers should be able to supply information regarding the origin of their packaging materials and whether they are recyclable19.
 (Green Economy Canada, Sustainable IT Procurement Pilot: Implementation Workshop, 2021)
 (Taylor-Smith, 2019)
 (HP, 2020)