Skip to Content

Purchasing


Sustainable Initiatives

We are committed to promoting creative solutions for ‘closing the loop’ by actively identifying supplies made from recycled products. Bid documents include clauses for the proper disposal of all waste and packaging materials associated with shipping materials to the university. 

Education and university support are the keys to the success of our programs and initiatives.

Our staff assists departments by offering suggestions for:

  • reducing their solid waste.
  • alternative sources of recycled products.
  • promoting the availability of products made from recycled products.

We make this information accessible in a variety of ways. We believe it will increase environmentally-sound decision making among faculty and staff who are purchasing goods, if we continue to present opportunities for them to be active participants in sustainability practices. 

 

We suggest purchasing furniture for the university from the commercial secondary (used) furniture market whenever possible as a viable option for obtaining items of good quality at a considerably lower cost than new items. Visual inspection is highly recommended prior to purchase. Selecting recycled furniture from commercial dealers that specialize in quality new brands reduces the chances of purchasing less-than-desirable items.

The university has made great efforts to identify government entities and charitable organizations to receive used dormitory furniture. Once approved by the state, furniture can be removed from university buildings by selected organizations. This saves the university the cost of removal and benefits the organization at the same time.

Some of the organizations that benefited from this program:

  • Rural Manpower
  • Foreign Students Association
  • Alston Wilkes Society
  • Department of Mental Health
  • Prevent Child Abuse of South Carolina

The university currently utilizes the State Term Contracts for office supplies. Their catalog identifies numerous items as having recycled content by use of the recycle ‘loop’ symbol. The copy paper purchased through the state recycled paper contract has a 30 percent recycled content, which meets federal guidelines. 

Consolidated Services stocks only copy paper, tissue and towels that have recycled content.

Total Cases Used on Campus Last Fiscal Year
Items Quantity
Hand Towels (roll) 5,604 cases
Hand Towels (fold) 1,851 cases
Toilet Tissue (rolls)  1,149 cases 
Toilet Tissue (canister rolls)  3,527 cases 
Copy Paper  12,050 cases 
Bond Paper  3,100 reams 

Empty laser cartridges are collected campus-wide by Consolidated Services for remanufacturing and resale to the campus community. Departments are able to realize a tremendous savings due to the decreased cost of the reused version. For some models, the savings can range anywhere from $70-40 per cartridge. 

For toner cartridge models that are either not designed for optimal remanufacturing or lack user demand, a contract exists for them to be sold to a recycler and diverted from a landfill.

Consolidated Services collects items for recycling or resale within the guidelines of state law, diverting tons of materials from landfills every year. When items are returned to inventory control, we attempt to reuse them elsewhere on campus.

When no need has been found for the items, they are:

  • sold to a recycler.
  • sent to State Surplus to be available to the public and other government agencies.
  • donated to charitable organizations.
  • sent to a landfill (as a last resort).

The Purchasing Department has established a contract for the disposal and recycling of surplus electronic equipment that have been declared as surplus and no longer provides a need for either the university or the state. The university ships this material, at the contractor’s expense, to their facility in Georgia for processing.

USC was one of the first agencies in South Carolina to establish a contract for the disposal of electronic surplus by awarding it to a contractor who would not only pay to remove it, but dismantle the equipment to produce ‘raw’ material for re-sell to manufacturers. The state is presently evaluating the establishment of a similar statewide contract for all agencies to utilize.

The contractor specializes in the recycling and reclaiming of electronic components. The surplus electronic items are transferred to their facility for reclaiming. The university is paid a rate of $0.0175/pound for the items. Although the rate appears to be low, it does allow the university to generate revenue and divert much of the waste from landfills. This is just one example of our successful initiatives to seek alternate means of diverting waste from landfills for disposal.

Items Quantity
Miscellaneous Scrap 166 tons
Scrap Electronics 115 tons