Campus Life

Penn State General Stores flexes its green muscles

It has been two years since General Stores started offering 30 percent recycled copier paper (item# PSUGOGREENCT) at a reduced price to the Penn State community -- and the response has been huge. At the request of the Penn State Computer Labs, General Stores now stocks and supplies 100 percent recycled paper (item# PSU100CT) to the on-campus computer labs.

"The labs wanted to test it out and it was a go for them," said Doug Crawford, Central Distribution Services and General Stores manager. "The 30 percent is still the most popular overall, but both copier papers are available to everyone."

General Stores offers a wide array of environmentally-friendly office and janitorial products (all purpose cleaners, hand towels, toilet paper, lamps and more) that can be found online in the General Stores catalog. Online search tools make it easy to locate these products, or customers can contact General Stores Customer Service at 814-863-0317.

Offering environmentally-friendly printing paper at competitive prices is just the beginning of General Stores' sustainability efforts. The unit has been focusing on reducing packaging and reusing as many materials as possible. General Stores also offers a handful of other green services that everyone in the Penn State community can take advantage of.

The four-day delivery week

General Stores prides itself on its quick, one-day delivery to all Penn State departments located on campus. To improve efficiency, save money and continue to be more sustainable, General Stores will begin delivering packages Tuesday through Friday, beginning during the week of Oct. 11.

"To put the environmental impact into perspective, we would be reducing the carbon foot print by roughly 57,160 pounds annually," Crawford said. "The mileage saved per year by eliminating one day of delivery per week is almost the circumference of the earth."

Certain deliveries, such as janitorial products and cylinder gases, will continue to be delivered on a daily basis. Crawford said he hopes the 4-day delivery schedule will encourage customers to consolidate their weekly orders (increase order size) to reduce the use of boxes and packaging material.

Recycling toner cartridges

When you see General Stores trucks around campus, they are not just making deliveries. The truck drivers are also making pickups. Offices who have empty printing toner cartridges can submit an online return/pick-up form on the General Stores website. The drivers will stop by and pick up the cartridges so they can be recycled. For the past several years General Stores has processed 7.5 tons of empty toner cartridges annually for recycling, Crawford said.

Use of cardboard boxes and packing materials

A majority of the boxes that office products and janitorial products are delivered in consist of a certain percentage of post consumer content. General Stores reuses boxes as well as packaging material as much as possible and asks its customers to do the same or dispose the items using the Penn State Recycling Program.

For more information on the environmental efforts of General Stores and Procurement Services, visit the environmental stewardship page on the purchasing website.

Last Updated September 20, 2010