Materials & Purchasing

A university needs resources. At NC State, sustainability starts at the source as more economically, environmentally and socially beneficial products makes their way on campus.

Every year, NC State conducts over hundred of millions of dollars worth of purchasing.

While the federal government sets guidelines for spending money on environmentally-preferable products, state and local agencies do not have to adhere to these policies. North Carolina state agencies are required to follow Executive Order 156, which includes requirements for purchasing environmentally-preferable products. The order also contains guidelines for environmental sustainability and solid waste reduction. NC General Statute 143-58 specifies that state agencies shall use or require use of products with recycled content and eliminate procedures that inhibit such purchases.

As state and local government agencies purchase more environmentally-preferable products, the price of these goods will decrease, and markets will be created for collected recyclables.

What You Can Do

NC State recognizes the many choices in procuring materials and services for your work. For purchases greater than $5,000 NC State’s Materials Management can provide guidance towards greener purchasing. For purchases less than $5,000 please consider the following information in evaluating your options.

Questions to ask when making purchases:
  • Does it contain recycled content?
  • Is it durable and will it last a long time?
  • What maintainence is required?
  • Can it be recycled?
  • Does it save energy?
  • Does it save water?
  • Are their equivalent options with less packaging?
  • Is it available in bulk?
  • How far with it be shipped?
  • Are raw materials being extracted to make it?
Look for these logos:

Indicates products made of recycled content

Cradle to Cradle

Cradle to Cradle for recognizes sustainable product life cycles

Energy Star for energy saving products

Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) for responsible forestry products

WaterSense for water saving products



USDA Organic for agricultural products


Green Seal for manufacture, purchase and use of environmentally responsible products

Greenguard for products that ensure optimum indoor air quality