Green Purchasing Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I buy "green" products?

Green products provide a variety of benefits in addition to the positive environmental impacts, which include: protecting natural resources, minimizing waste, and reducing toxic chemicals. Contrary to common belief that environmentally sustainable products cost more than traditional products, green products can actually reduce operating and maintenance costs. Some green products such as biodegradable cleaners also improve worker health and safety. Green purchases contribute to the overall demand for such products and services, leading to an increase in these goods, making it easier and more affordable to purchase them.

Why should I buy recycled?

Recycling is more than just dropping off your cans, bottles, and newspapers at the local collection facility. Diverting recyclables from the waste stream is only the first of three steps in the recycling process. The second step occurs when companies use these recyclables to manufacture new products. The third step comes when you purchase products made from recovered materials. Buying recycled products results in many environmental benefits. It supports local recycling programs by creating markets for the collected materials that are processed and used to manufacture new products. This creates jobs and helps strengthen the economy; conserves natural resources; saves energy; and reduces solid waste, air, and water pollutants, and greenhouse gases.

Do recycled and refilled toner cartridges produce quality copies?

Many of today's recycled and refilled toner cartridges provide equal, if not improved quality, as compared to new cartridges. Their advantage over new cartridges is in cost and waste reduction, which make recycled cartridges an economically and environmentally sound choice.

Do recycled toner cartridges void the warranty on some printers?

For most printers and copiers, the use of refilled cartridges alone does not affect the warranty or maintenance contract.

Where can I recycle my used toner cartridges?

Central Stores manages the recycling of toner cartridges. When replacing cartridges, place the old cartridge in the box, mark the box to Central Stores and place it in campus mail. Central Stores recycles these to a certified recycler. Ink Jet cartridges can be recycled in the same way.

Does recycled paper jam copy machines and printers?

Today's recycled copier paper is high quality and technically perfected for use in copiers and printers. Central Stores does extensive testing of recycled paper prior to awarding contracts to make sure the paper will work in copiers and printers.

Besides purchasing choices, what else can offices do to become more sustainable?

Reduce product use and waste

  • Minimize the use of disposable paper products.
  • When possible, produce literature and reports electronically and make available on websites. When not possible, print literature on recycled content paper.
  • Set all computers to "toner save mode" and to "print double-sided" in order to reduce paper usage and toner cartridge usage.
  • Produce newsletters and other internal communications electronically.



  • Reuse envelopes with new address labels where possible.
  • Save boxes to be reused when needed or contact Central Stores.
  • Save and reuse folders and dividers.
  • Reuse draft prints and internal documents as scrap paper.


  • White paper
  • Cardboard
  • Plastic bottles
  • Glass bottles
  • Aluminum and steel cans
  • Printer cartridges
  • CDs

Reduce energy consumption

  • Turn off all computers and monitors when not in use
  • Use low energy monitors and activate low energy screensavers when the computer is not in use for longer than 5 minutes throughout the day.
  • Use energy-saver mode on copiers and printers when not in use.
  • Switch off all electronic equipment including printers, photocopiers, lights, machinery, and kitchen equipment overnight.
  • Reduce the extra appliances in the office area.

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