Purchasing Programs to Reduce Your Office Waste

April 6, 2011

Penn Purchasing Services, together with Telrose and Office Depot, has announced a series of important new initiatives for University offices that will help reduce, reuse, recycle, and make progress toward Penn's Climate Action Plan goals.

Reusable Delivery Totes: Office supply orders that weigh less than 20 pounds (and are not self contained) are now being delivered in paper bags rather than corrugated cardboard cartons, and transported in reusable delivery totes that protect the product and are be returned to Telrose to reuse.  Through this process, the University, Telrose and Office Depot will reduce or eliminate tons of wood, carbon dioxide emissions and thousands of pounds of solid waste per year.

Green Alternatives:  Purchasing Services has made it simple for members of the Penn Community to take advantage of the comprehensive assortment of green tips and environmentally preferable office products offered by Telrose/Office Depot. Through its new Green Alternatives Program, when customers select the items they wish to order, if environmentally preferred alternatives are available, a green banner will appear with suggestions for greener choices.  Easy to read, side-by-side comparisons show the requested item and the more environmentally preferable alternatives and allow customers to easily compare product and price. Now it’s even easier to choose the Green Alternatives when possible and support the University’s sustainability initiatives.

These two new programs are part of Penn’s Green Purchasing Initiative. Other efforts include the $25 minimum order recommendation for all office supply orders, which will eliminate an estimated 6,000 purchase orders annually. This simple change can eliminate over 3,000 packages, which would yield a reduction of over 17,000 lbs. of CO2, eliminate over 8,500 lbs. of packaging waste and reduce the number of truck deliveries to campus.

Reuse Furniture! In November, Purchasing launched Ben’s Attic, an online resource that allows Penn faculty and staff to exchange and purchase surplus University owned property.  Ben’s Attic can be accessed from the Purchasing Services website: or you may bookmark:


A glass bottle will survive for almost 1 million years in a landfill.

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