Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Avoiding unnecessary purchases

Reduce waste - avoiding unnecessary products

By considering if you need to buy a particular product or service you can reduce your impact on the environment, save money and resources, and reduce waste and pollution.

If you assess your need to buy a product or service you may decide you don't need to make a purchase.

Before making a purchase, consider if you could cut down how much you buy, for example you could:

  • reuse an existing resource, eg redistributing IT equipment within your business
  • use a service rather than buying a product, eg renting your office furniture, but make sure that the products you hire are sustainable
  • buy longer lasting products, eg durable products that can be repaired and upgraded
  • avoid disposable products, eg using china plates and mugs instead of paper or plastic, or using rechargeable batteries
  • improve storage and stock control to help reduce waste and to only buy what you need, ie 'just in time' stock control
  • work with your suppliers to reduce their materials or resources, eg by using less packaging for transporting goods, alternative fuels for vehicles or renewable energy during manufacturing
  • encourage staff to use products efficiently, eg using energy efficient features will help reduce your energy use and carbon emissions
  • buy more efficient products, eg equipment that can perform multiple tasks like copying, printing and faxing, or that use renewable power, eg solar powered monitoring equipment or external lighting
  • buy items that can be taken back by the supplier or reused or recycled, eg using carpet tiles instead of sheet carpet - you can also replace these individually if damaged
  • buy products that have separable parts and can be repaired more easily.

Managing your purchasing

Once you have assessed whether you need to buy a product or service, you can start to consider how you can do this more sustainably.

Return to Buying environmentally friendly goods and services Home Page

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