e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Sustainable Purchasing

NYS Executive Order 4 (EO4) and ESF's Green Purchasing and Break Free From Plastic Policy

Executive Order 4 established an interagency committee on sustainability and green procurement. This committee creates lists and specifications for environmentally preferred products. These specs and products are focused on the following elements:

  • Reduce or eliminate the health and environmental risks from the use or release of toxic substances

  • Minimize risks of the discharge of pollutants into the environment

  • Minimize the volume and toxicity of packaging

  • Maximize the use of recycled content and sustainably managed renewable resources

  • Provide other environmental and health benefits

State agencies are required to purchase commodities, services and technology that meet the approved green procurement specifications. ESF is a state agency, therefore must abide by these regulations. The Business Office partnered with the Sustainability Division and the NYS Center for Sustainable Materials Management (housed at ESF) to create an ESF Green Purchasing Guide.

This Guide will assist campus purchasers as they strive to achieve compliance with GreenNY purchasing mandates.

Green Purchasing Guide Cover

The GreenNY website lists approved specifications and also features a searchable list of products that meet EO4 specifications that are available through preferred sources or centralized contracts. The GreenNY website also features a robust Resources section that includes annual GreenNY progress reports, webinars, case studies and much more.

The complete list of approved specifications can also be seen in the Green Purchasing Guide above.

The Sustainability Division hosted a series of training sessions for the campus community. These training sessions introduced the Guide and Policy to the campus community and explained why green purchasing is important. A condensed Q&A is included below this video:

Can the Green Purchasing Guide and ESF's Green Purchasing and Break Free from Plastic Policy be shared with other universities or state agencies?

Yes! The Guide and the Policy are designed to for use at ESF, but feel free to share it with others that may find it useful.

What should I do if I already have some banned single-use plastics in my office or for events?

Definitely, use the single-use items you already have before buying more sustainable versions. These items are going to create waste if they are used or not, so they might as well be utilized for their purpose! If using these at campus events, display a card or make an announcement to explain that sustainable changes are coming.

Will the green Purchasing Guide be made available to students who make purchases for student clubs?

Absolutely! We will definitely be reaching out to student clubs to provide them this resource to help them improve the sustainability of their meetings and events.

A lot of the single-use items I purchase are for lab work, and they are typically single-use for a reason (e.g. sterile). Does NY's Executive Order 4 (EO4) or ESF's Green Purchasing and Break Free From Plastic Policy affect these items?

The only items you need to worry about are those listed under the EO4 Approved Specifications and in ESF’s Policy. Single-use plastics used in an academic setting (lab equipment) and single-use plastics necessary for health and safety purposes are exempt from the policy. We encourage you to review the work your lab performs and determine if reusable and durable alternatives can be incorporated into your lab activities. If you find reusable alternatives, please let us know and we will add them to the guide to share with other campus members.

Does the guide have a section for vehicle/heavy equipment maintenance and repair products and/or repair tools?

The Guide does not currently include those products, but it certainly can in the future. There are a number of GreenNY specs related to vehicles/equipment and associated maintenance. If you have trouble identifying products that meet the GreenNY specs please reach out to us so we can help with research.

ESF Green Purchasing & Break Free From Plastic Policy

Purchasers should also review ESF's Green Purchasing & Break Free From Plastic Policy Among other things, this Policy details a list of single use plastic items that are no longer able to be purchased with State funding for use on College property or for College events.

Water Bottle Ban

Executive Order No. 18 was issued in 2009 and eliminates New York State's purchase and use of bottled water in state facilities. Bottled water is costlier than tap water and is not necessarily safer. State funds should never be used to purchase plastic water bottles and members of the campus community should avoid providing them (and all single use bottles) at events, meetings and conferences to the greatest extent possible. Individuals should also prioritize use of reusable water bottles in their day to day activities on campus!

Discounts on Low/Zero Waste Items

ESF is a member of the Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN). The Post-Landfill Action Network cultivates, educates, and inspires the student-led zero waste movement. They inform students about the waste crisis and equip them with the necessary skills and resources to implement solutions to waste in their campus communities. As a member campus, ESF students, faculty and staff have access to a variety of resources in PLAN's Member Hub. This Hub contains manuals, digital resources, workshops, trainings, a discount directory and much more. The discount directory offers deals on brands such as Bee's Wrap, Ecovative, Klean Canteen, World Centric and much more!

Anyone with an esf.edu email address can access the Hub

Click the image below to access a handy guide to exploring the PLAN Member Hub

post landfill action network flyer

Purchasing Contact

Lauren Dennis
Purchasing Coordinator