Environmental Purchasing

There are many opportunities to buy recycled, energy efficient, or otherwise environmentally preferable products each and every day! A few examples are included here, but always ask your vendor if they offer anything else.

In the Office:

Officemax, the new Harvard preferred vendor, offers many products made from recycled content on contract. Ask or look for the recycling symbol on the website!

BUY RECYCLED: Look for office paper (at least 30% post-consumer content), file folders, envelopes, notebooks, remanufactured toner cartridges – and many other products made from recycled paper!

Who’s Buying Recycled Paper at HSPH?
The following Departments have reported that they buy at least 30% post-consumer content office paper (don’t see your department on the list? Send an email to if your department also uses recycled paper).

  • Dean’s Office
  • Epidemiology
  • Nutrition
  • Operations (including computer labs)
  • Environmental Health
  • Immunology and Infectious Diseases
  • Society, Human Development & Health
  • Faculty Affairs
  • Office of Financial Services
  • Human Subjects Administration

BUY ENERGYSTAR: Look for the ENERGYSTAR label on printers, computers, copiers, lightbulbs, refrigerators, and many other products!


Look for Green Seal certified cleaning products with low toxicity and low VOC content (volatile organic content). Look for other low VOC products such as low VOC paints, carpet adhesives, and sealants.

In the Lab:

More and more lab equipment and supplies vendors are offering environmentally responsible products.  Please visit the Harvard Green Labs website for an updated list of products we have found, such as:

  • Re-loadable pipette tip boxes
  • Energy efficient freezers, biosafety cabinets and centrifuges
  • Products with “End of Life” take back programs
  • Reusable Products and Products with Reduced or Recyclable Packaging

The next time you are buying new equipment, ask the vendors about the energy performance of the product.