Environmentally Preferrable Purchasing

What is Environmentally Preferrable Purchasing (EPP)?  It’s considering the environmental impacts of a product in the purchasing process.  When considering the impact it's good to think in terms of an objects life cycle, which includes everything from raw materials, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, operation, maintenance and disposal.

Issues to consider include:

  • do you really need to buy the item? The greenest purchase is no purchase at all.  Is it an item that could be borrowed from the IT Equipment Services loaner pool, or an item that could be shared with another department (or a roommate, in the case of a student)?    

  • energy efficiency - look for the Energy Star label when applicable.  It's often worth it to pay more upfront if the long term energy costs will be considerably less than a comparable yet less expensive model.

  • high recycled content - particularly “post-consumer” recycled content.

  • waste reduction - look for items with less packaging, are reusable, durable, reusable and/or recyclable.

  • carcinogen-free - look for items with low toxicity levels and ones with low or no volatile organic compounds.

  • locally sourced and produced -  by reducing transport costs, locally sourced goods reduce greenhouse gas emissions - and they also tend to support the local economy. 

What is Bowdoin doing to support EPP?

    • Recycled paper Bowdoin encourages all offices to purchase 100% recycled paper for all standard white copy paper. A large percentage of specialty, and non-standard-size paper from the colleges office supply vendor also contains recycled content.  Restrooms are stocked with 100% recycled content paper towels and toilet paper, and dining services uses 100% recycled napkins. 

    • EnergyStar certified appliances - the College has a policy in place that requires electrical appliances to receive the Energy Star rating.    Look for the Energy Star logo or visit the Energy Star website for more information.

    • EPEAT cerfified computer equipment Bowdoin's IT department purchases only EPEAT Gold and Silver rated computers unless there is a specific need for specialized equipment which has no EPEAT certified alternative.

    • Green cleaning Bowdoin Housekeeping utilizes a range of products that meet the California Code of Regulations maximum allowable VOC level requirements, they use rags instead of disposable towels, and they utilize a floor stripping machine that uses no harsh chemicals - only water.  For an example of Bowdoin's green housekeeping policy, see documentation submitted as part of our LEED certification for Watson Arena.  The same policies are applied across campus. 

    • Buying Local - Dining Services has been expanding their local purchases for years, with an ever increasing amount of food coming from within Maine and New England.  Learn more >>