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Buy cooperatively or purchase in bulk

Schools can save a lot of money by joining forces with other groups and buying in bulk or cooperatively. Not only does it save money, but participating in a cooperative purchasing program is an excellent way for school districts and public agencies to save time and resources. Furthermore, large cooperative buying power can stimulate the market demand for green products and services.

Los Angeles County recently established a Cooperative Purchasing Program, enabling governmental entities (including school districts) to join the County (free of charge) in purchasing recycled paper and benefiting financially from the advantage of collective purchasing power. The County selected a contractor to supply 30 percent recycled-content paper at below wholesale cost to all participating governmental entities (with no minimum purchase requirement and with the added convenience of next day delivery). By joining the program, participating cities and school districts are saving a tremendous amount of money: based on projected annual consumption, the City and County of Los Angeles alone will be saving $84,000 and $40,000 per year, respectively, compared with their previous contracts.

Specific Bulk Purchasing Agencies

US Communities
The U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance is a non-profit  alliance that assists local and state governments agencies, school districts and nonprofits reduce the overall cost of products by pooling the purchasing power of public agencies nationwide.  The four main product areas in the U.S. Communities Program are office supplies, office furniture, computer equipment, and industrial supplies.  US Communities/Green is a one stop source for public agencies and schools to access to a broad line of environmentally certified products and services. Suppliers of green products include Office Depot, Home Depot, Herman Miller and many others.  Go to www.uscommunities.org/reg to register to participate (free) and start saving now.

The Recycled Products Cooperative
The Recycled Products Cooperative (RPC) at the Solana Center  offers pooled volume discounts for schools and other public/private sectors. There is no cost to join the cooperative and the Solana Center guarantees discount pricing. Visit www.recycledproducts.org/

EdBuy is a cooperative purchasing program operated by the California County of Superintendents Educational Services Association. It uses purchasing histories and data to negotiate better contracts. EdBuy contracts are competitively bid and for many items, prices are lower. Note: products are not  necessarily green so please cross reference with our product directories.  Visit www.edbuy.org

Department of General Services--State of California
The State of California contracts with a variety of vendors for recycled products and gets large discounts because the state is such a large purchaser. Schools are required to have a DGS billing code prior to using this contract. The DGS will bill each local agency an administrative fee for use of this statewide contract, but the savings are more than the fee. You can use the new eProcurement process and search the various contracts for greener papers, supplies, cleaning products, and more. Visit www.dgs.ca.gov/BuyingGreen/Home.aspx  or call Jorge Lopez 916-375-4446

Green Building Green Cleaners Green Food Services Green Papers Green Schoolyards Green Supplies
Green Buying Tools

"Environmentally Preferable Purchasing" or "Green Purchasing" means integrating environmental and health factors into all procurement policies and decisions. Green purchasing can also save money, protect students and staff, and reduce liability—something schools everywhere should care about.

The following tools will help you get started:

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Disclaimer: Listing in this Directory should not be construed as a recommendation or endorsement by Green Schools Initiative or any of its supporters or partners. GSI is providing this information as a public service to promote the use of greener practices and products. Listings in this Directory are based on information obtained from the product manufacturer, supplier, or service provider in question, and may not be complete. GSI reviews the information obtained from these sources to determine if its meets our health and environmental criteria, but does not independently verify the information. GSI provides no warranty or guarantee of product performance, safety, price, or availability.