Skip to Main Content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Pollution Prevention 101: Purchasing

Resources for pollution prevention (P2) technical assistance providers. Geared particularly toward those new to the P2 field.


Green purchasing adds environmental considerations to the price and performance criteria that organizations use to make purchasing decisions. Green purchasing considers supply chain management and is also known as environmentally preferred purchasing (EPP), green procurement, affirmative procurement, eco-procurement, and environmentally responsible purchasing. Green purchasing attempts to identify and reduce environmental impact and to maximize resource efficiency.

Five Guiding Principles

  • Consider environmental factors in addition to price and performance.
  • Emphasize pollution prevention early in the purchasing process. Consider packaging and whether the product contains or produces toxics.
  • Examine multiple environmental attributes throughout a product's or service's life cycle. Look at the whole life of the product, from manufacture through use and disposal.
  • Compare relative environmental impacts when selecting products and services.
  • Collect and base purchasing decisions on accurate and meaningful information about environmental performance.

For more in-depth information on green purchasing, see the Green Business LibGuide.


The books below are general guides to green purchasing for institutions. For information on greenwashing and purchasing of specific products with significant environmental impact, including electronics and paper, see the Green Business LibGuide's Purchasing section..