Search this site
Browse site by topic
Find out more
Student Housing encourages students and staff to shop sustainably with a pocket-sized list.
UC Davis units can upgrade their printers to more efficient models, free.
Repro Graphics is committed to helping preserve natural resources, conserve energy use and reduce toxins.
Find out about UC Davis' waste reduction efforts.
Campus policy supports waste prevention.
- 10.6.15 — UC launches Cool Campus Challenge in a push toward carbon neutrality
- 10.1.15 — 9 ways to get your green on!
- 11.12.14 — Fresh idea brings campus produce to UC Davis pantry
- 5.13.14 — Buildings, bikes and even our purple gloves are green
- 4.22.14 — Biodigester turns campus waste into campus energy
Take Action: Buy Smart
Your challenge: Reduce waste before you spend a dime.
Your challenge: Reduce waste before you spend a dime.
- Avoid buying new.
- Consider your equipment's efficiency as a cost.
- Reduce packaging and paper.
- Buy reusables instead of disposables.
Avoid buying new
Before making a purchase, consider what you already have. Could something you own work just as well or better than something new? Using available resources can help save money and reduce waste, for staff and students.
If you still need to acquire something, check with Aggie Surplus first. From chairs to computers, they sell surplus equipment, furniture and supplies at a discount to UC Davis employees, students and community members. All of the products at Aggie Surplus are used or excess, so buying from Aggie Surplus can turn one department's discards into someone else's cost savings.
Aggie Surplus also has free items to help facilitate swaps between offices of desktop organizers, phones, binders and other common office supplies.
You can also find gently used items at the Aggie Reuse Store. The store's mission is to divert materials from the landfill and to redistribute them at low cost for reuse or repurposing. Anyone can shop at and donate to the store, which is located at 163 Memorial Union, across from the ASUCD Post Office and Campus Copies.
Consider your equipment’s efficiency as a cost
The full cost of a product is not just its purchase price; its energy use, future repair costs, life span until replacement and possible water efficiency should be added to its total cost when choosing what appliances or other equipment to buy.
When it comes to choosing a product, many resources are available to help make efficient purchasing decisions. University of California policy states that all equipment purchased should be Energy Star qualified, if available. UC Davis also encourages sustainable purchasing with a variety of tools, databases and certification processes that can help make sense of your choices.
UC Davis is also seeking ways to make saving energy economically attractive to campus units, by offering rebates and exchange programs for inefficient equipment currently in use.
Refrigerators and freezers: Campus units that own a refrigerator or freezer purchased before 1995 should consider replacing or retiring the appliance. A rebate is available for units that choose to upgrade their older, inefficient refrigeration models. Units who decide to retire a refrigerator or freezer entirely can also receive a monetary award. Disposing of the old appliance is also made easier with help from Facilities Management and Aggie Surplus.
Printers: Your unit can buy a newer, more efficient printer to replace more inefficient Hewlett Packard models, thanks to the campus's ability to pool its purchasing power.
Reduce packaging and paper use
UC Davis policy states that packing materials should be non-toxic, biodegradable,100-percent post-consumer recycled content that is recyclable or reusable, or not excessive.
Try these strategies for reducing packaging waste:
- Buy in bulk and use your own container;
- Buy products with minimal or recyclable packaging;
- Avoid plastic packaging which cannot be recycled; and
- Use concentrated products, such as powdered detergent, rather than liquids in plastic bottles.
Electronic alternatives to printing are strongly encouraged, including e-mail, forms and handouts. When hard copies are necessary, paper for printing and copying at UC Davis is required by policy to contain at least 30 percent recycled post-consumer waste. Printing both sides of the page should be the default setting of all campus printers; for paper that is printed on only one side, employees are encouraged to use the blank side as note paper before recycling it.
Campus publications are printed on recycled paper, are encouraged to transition to electronic versions and should be routed or publicly posted to reduce duplicate copies in a department or office. UC Davis moved its campus directory online in 2008, and also issues electronic pay statements, instead of paper copies.
Buy reusables instead of disposables
Buying something that can be reused means fewer purchases and fewer trips to the trash can. Reusable goods can be substituted for most disposables, including paper towels, disposable razors, one-time batteries, paper napkins and plastic forks.
Though the price for reusable goods is often higher than its disposable counterpart, the actual costs should be considered over the life span of the reusable good. For example, Student Housing purchased Aggieware reusable dishes for a one-time cost of $17,000 after estimating that they previously spent $8,000 per year on disposable plates and utensils.