Sustainable Purchasing

Vision Statement

Swarthmore College purchases with environmental and social consciousness, as well as fiscal responsibility.  We are committed to being leaders in sustainable purchasing and using best practices in order to reduce consumption and waste production, operate at maximum efficiency, and to have a positive impact on our environment, economy, and society.

Guiding Principles

1. Environmental Responsibility

We are committed to improving our environmental performance through reducing waste, conserving energy, and recycling and disposing of our products responsibly.

2. Fiscal Responsibility

We are committed to reducing unnecessary cost and expenses by appropriately limiting consumption and waste, promoting energy efficiency, and actively seeking the most financially viable option.

3. Social Responsibility

We will uphold consideration of the human impacts that are a result of the manufacturing and disposal of our products, and include these considerations in their purchasing decisions.


Sustainable Printer Purchasing Policy [pdf]

The Sustainable Printer Purchasing Policy [pdf] serves as a guide for all members of the Swarthmore College community on our printer purchasing practices, in accordance with the sustainability standards and practices of Information Technology Services. Note the policy action statements below.

  1. The College provides access to modern Canon equipment for faculty, staff, and students, so the College community will be expected to use the Canon printers.
  2. Space planning for all future building and renovation projects will consider printing equipment location from this point forward.
  3. Use of printing devices not leased through ITS will be phased out. Departments and offices moving to new locations will not be permitted to bring such printers, barring certain circumstances or needs.
  4. Faculty and staff who are not moving to a new building or suite will be asked to voluntarily give up their desktop local printer. If that is not feasible, the equipment will be grandfathered to allow possession of the desktop local printers currently in use. Non-Canon printers and printing devices that are not leased through ITS will no longer be replaced using College funds once they reach the end of their life. ITS staff will no longer be responsible for non-Canon desktop printer setup, printer repair, or maintenance in nonresidential buildings.
  5. Exceptions to these stipulations on the basis of disability or some other need will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and ITS will provide recommendations for desktop printer model.

The info graphic [pdf] describes rationale for the necessity of a Sustainable Printer Purchasing Policy.

Printing Instructions for Community members

  • Disposing of unneeded printers or electronic equipment
    • Employees that wish to dispose of electronic commodities, including printers, may contact ITS help desk for details. Instructions will be provided, but generally employees will hold onto their product until late July/early August.

  • Buying sustainable copy paper
    • Purchase by using the eMarket Portal, choose WB Mason's 30% Recycled
      • 8 1/2" x 11" Letter, Catalog Item #WBM20030, 5000/CT
      • 8.5" x 14" Legal, Catalog Item #WBM20314, 5000/CT
      • 11" x 17" Ledger, Catalog Item #WBM20317, 2500/CT  
  • Buying and recycling toner cartridges
    • Purchase by using the eMarket Portal, choose Office Basics for HP toner cartridges for deeply discounted rates on high volume cartridges.
    • Recycling process through Office Basics is in development.

Additional Information about Swarthmore College's Sustainability Leadership