Sustainability at ESF
Our green purchasing program supports our College zero waste goals and exceeds state mandates (Executive Order 4/GreenNY and Executive Order 22) . We have adopted SUNY-leading purchasing policies, but more importantly, have developed robust programs to aid campus in implementation. We believe that it is not enough to simply adopt a policy, we prioritize transforming our words into action.
NYS Executive Order 4 (EO4): Green Procurement
Executive Order 4 established an interagency committee on sustainability and green procurement. This committee creates lists and specifications (specs) 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 Office of Business Affairs partnered with the Office of Sustainability and the NYS Center for Sustainable Materials Management (housed at ESF) to create ESF's Green Purchasing Guide to assist campus purchasers in compliance.
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.
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.
Items no longer able to be purchased with state funds include:
- Utensils, straws, and stirrers
- Food service ware (cups, plates, bowls, trays, sauce cups. and lids)
- Clamshells and to-go containers
- Polystyrene (Styrofoam and similar) food service products
- Plastic-lined cups and bowls (coffee cups, snack boats, etc.)
- Plastic-wrapped condiments, sauces and seasonings
- Individually-packaged items with bulk alternatives (napkins, oyster crackers, mints, etc.)
- Individual wrapped baked goods
- Individual hot beverage packets (K-cups, plastic tea bags, etc.)
- Plastic shopping bags
- Plastic-wrapped giveaways
Any single-use plastic materials needed for health and safety purposes are exempt from this policy. Single-use plastics needed in academic settings (laboratory analyses, etc.) are also exempt. See the policy for the full list of exemptions.
Green Purchasing Guide
The Green Purchasing Guide assists campus purchasers as they strive to achieve compliance with GreenNY purchasing mandates. The guide was designed to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It is organized by Product Category and each section includes a table of contents. The Guide is organized to make it easy for purchasers to abide by NYS Procurement Guidelines.
To learn more about the Guide's creation, click below to read our short case study.
The Office of Sustainability hosted a series of training sessions for the campus community. These sessions introduced the Guide and Policy to the campus community and explained why green purchasing in important. A condensed Q&A is included below the video:
Green Purchasing Q & A
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!
Avoid using these at public facing-events, but we encourage you to use these in your office or at internal meetings.
NYS Executive Order 18 (EO18): Water Bottle Ban
Executive Order No. 18 was issued in 2009 and eliminates the 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