Office of Energy & Sustainability

Sustainable Purchasing Guide

Treen grown on money

This guide is a reference to help Weill Cornell Medicine employees make sustainable choices and reduce the environmental impact of purchasing decisions. Employees may consider a multitude of criteria across a product’s lifecycle when choosing one item over another. A preference for sustainable items can also send a signal to manufacturers that consumers care about sustainability. 



Weill Cornell Medicine's priorities are to save money and choose items with the best quality. However, we encourage our employees to take into consideration choices that are better for our health and the planet. Sometimes, these choices have an added cost, but this is not always true.



  • Purchase the right amount and size (avoid purchasing in excess “just in case”).


  • Prefer items with less packaging.


  • Utilize vendor take-back programs when available.


  • Choose items, such as copy paper, with at least 30% recycled/post-consumer material.


  • Place your orders together (batch or bulk order) to minimize packaging and shipping emissions.


  • Prefer local suppliers to limit transportation distance.


  • Prefer items that are reusable or rechargeable over single-use disposables. If a single-use item is unavoidable, choose one that is recyclable or biodegradable.


  • Consider buying products that are used, refurbished, or remanufactured if quality is assured by the Supplier.


  • Purchase energy and water-efficient appliances and electronics, such as EPA ENERGY STAR products.


  • Choose less harmful/toxic materials.


  • Look for green certifications (Green Seal, Forest Stewardship Council, SFI, B Corp, Fair Trade, etc.)



Did you know

Earth Day was founded in 1970. U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin called for a nationwide demonstration in the spring of 1970 aimed to raise awareness of environmental issues. It worked. The first national Earth Day was April 22, 1970.

Office of Energy & Sustainability 1300 York Avenue, LC006, Box 14, New York, NY 10065