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You are here Sustainability > Initiatives > Sustainable Procurement

What can I do?

Trinity is committed to fostering and promoting the purchase of environmentally preferable products throughout its supply chain. This includes day-to-day purchases, teaching/research/lab equipment and capital projects, including building construction and renovation.

Get Involved and Learn More:

  • Think before buying. The item you need may already be in your department, elsewhere on campus or available from a reuse website. Ask around or check with

  • If you want to see if there are any sustainable alternatives for your purchase, contact the TCD Procurement Office directly,

  • Think about the disposal of the item you are purchasing at the end of its life? Can the item be reused by another researcher or lab? Can it be sold on for reuse? Will it have scrap value, or will it cost the university to dispose of? Will it be obsolescent in three years’ time?

  • Consider the energy efficiency of the item you need to purchase – can you find a more energy efficient model?

  • Consult the Smart Labs toolkit to expand your options.

  • If the item you are purchasing uses water, consider how much water it will consume on an annual basis. If the machine is water cooled, does it have closed loop cooling (to reduce water consumption by up to 90%)? Can you find more efficient models?

  • What kinds of chemicals or oils or lubricants will be required for the equipment? Does Trinity already have these chemicals/oils/ etc. on site and if so, can that reduce the supply you will need?

  • Only purchase the exact amount of chemicals/oils/lubricants/spray cans/ etc. that you need at a time. Over-purchasing of ‘bargain’ amounts can lead to stockpiling of unnecessary chemical materials which increases:
    • the health and safety risk for all involved in handling these items, and
    • the risk of an environmental event (e.g. spill to air, water or soil) occurring

Helpful ideas for general Sustainable Procurement:

  • Most paper is made from trees, including old growth (i.e. >200 year old) forests. Turning forests into paper eradicates entire ecosystems, not just trees. Impacts can range from soil loss to flooding to extinction of species. So think about the paper you use or waste.
  • Reduce paper use as much as you can: write or print on both sides of paper; use old paper scraps for notes, reuse paper printed on one side for test prints.
  • Purchase post-consumer content* recycled paper. It costs the same as normal paper and doesn't affect the performance of photocopiers or printers. See our office supplies agent. Recycled paper is available from Codex Ltd. and is purchased via their Science Warehouse e-catalogue on FIS.
  • Buy goods with zero or less packaging.
  • Buy in larger quantities only if it cuts down on packaging (‘two-for-one’ food purchases often result in food waste, so think twice about those).
  • Buy locally manufactured or produced goods – less transport is needed to bring them to Trinity, resulting in less air pollution.
  • Buy post-consumer* recycled content, biodegradable, environmentally friendly goods. These are generally better for your health as well as they have less toxins.
  • Specify no packaging when buying goods or mandate that packaging is removed by the supplier (e.g. for white goods, furniture, electronic equipment).
  • Buy recycled, biodegradable, environmentally friendly goods wherever possible. 

*post-consumer content means the produce has been made from recycled materials that a consumer used rather than just being made from recycled ‘cut-offs’ or materials in-factory


For further questions relating to environmental purchases at Trinity, speak to our Procurement Officer or contact at the Procurement Office.

Green procurement criteria for public tenders is available here.

For more information click on:
Green Procurement Ireland and the e-tenders website and EU Guidelines.