Penn State Purchasing

Penn State’s Office of Central Procurement handles the procurement of everything from furniture to lab equipment on PSU campuses. Central Procurement continually seeks opportunities to maximize purchasing value by making wise choices that benefit both the University and the environment.


  • The Lion Surplus Store, located at PSU’s University Park campus and open to the general public, resells Penn State’s surplus goods. The store’s inventory features everything from office furniture to scientific equipment.
  • By allowing invoices and orders to be processed electronically, Procurement has saved over 350,000 sheets of paper to date.
  • Penn State recently switched to environmentally friendly trash can liners. These new liners, manufactured by Native Green LLC, contain 20% less material than single- and dual-ply mixed resin bags and are made with 70% post-consumer recycled content.
  • The University purchases ENERGY STAR certified microwave-refrigerator combo units for all campuses. ENERGY STAR is a national program that sets the standard for energy efficiency in consumer appliances. It is co-sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Penn State Purchasing follows EPEAT standards when purchasing computers and monitors. EPEAT helps purchasers evaluate, compare, and select electronic products based on their environmental attributes. EPEAT registered products are required to meet a strict set of environmental criteria that address such concerns as material selection, packaging, and end-of-life management. Penn State’s adoption of these standards has resulted in:
    • 2.9 million kWh of electricity saved
      228 metric tons of CO2 emissions avoided
      2.7 metric tons of solid waste kept out of landfills
  • Penn State General Stores is the University’s exclusive office and janitorial supply provider. PSU General Stores offers a wide array of recycled products, including 30% post-consumer recycled paper, which is packaged in recycled brown-kraft cartons instead of bleached cartons. These recycled brown kraft cartons require fewer trees, less water, and no bleaching to manufacture.
  • In 2009, Penn State negotiated a contract for recycled-content paper, making it possible for the University to offer this environmentally friendly paper at a cost lower than that of virgin paper.
  • General Stores has also added the ENERGY STAR certified Sylvania micro-mini compact fluorescent lamp – as well as over 2,000 other green products – to its inventory.
  • Software at Penn State has made smart power strips available at two University Park locations as well as online. These strips automatically turn off peripheral devices when your computer goes to sleep or shuts down, saving a significant amount of energy.
  • Penn State’s Multimedia Print Center offers soy-based inks for many of its products. Unlike traditional petroleum-based inks, soy-based inks do not release toxic airborne solvents.
  • The Office of Physical Plant’s Custodial Services division has adopted its own Blue Cleaning Program that utilizes green cleaning supplies in campus buildings.

Vote With Your Wallet!

Suppliers and manufacturers do, in fact, respond to consumer demands! By choosing to purchase sustainable and energy efficient products, you can help corporations recognize the importance of a sustainable business model. The following is a list of criteria you can use to evaluate the environmental implications of your purchases:

  • How long will I use this product before I’ll have to dispose of it?
  • Can this product be recycled?
  • What resources were used in the manufacturing and transport of this product?

It’s important to remember that “new” doesn’t necessarily mean energy efficient. Follow Penn State’s lead and be sure to purchase recycled products and ENERGY STAR certified appliances! We also encourage you to purchase organic foods, cosmetics, cleaning products, and clothing whenever possible.