Over 2.5 million
tons of carpet
are thrown away
up about 2% of
Choosing greener furnishings can significantly reduce your agency's
environmental impacts. Furnishings, such as environmentally friendlier
carpeting, paints, and furniture, offer a great opportunity to be
What to Purchase
1. Incorporate a standard requirement in your contract language that carpets,
adhesives, paints, upholstery and partition fabrics, and other materials, will not give
off harmful gasses or other pollutants.
2. Ask manufacturers for documentation of their environmental claims.
3. Buy remanufactured furnishings and office partitions that are offered by the
highest quality manufacturers.
4. Buy carpets, furniture, and other interior furnishings made of recycled products.
Use the Department of General Service's procurement contracts, which offer
environmentally sustainable products.
5. When shopping for furniture, look for the upholstery that are made with natural
materials and non-toxic dyes and that are not treated with toxic coatings. (Some
upholstery fabrics are not dyed at all.) Ask the manufacturer's local representative
for information on upholstery treatment or go directly to the manufacturer for that
information if necessary.
6. If possible, buy furniture made from materials that are grown without the use of
toxic pesticides and fertilizers. (Although it is a natural fiber, cotton is the most
pesticide-intensive crop in the U.S.)
7. Be sure that furniture does not contain foams with CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) or
8. Purchase furniture that is easy to take apart to replace worn, broken, or missing
9. Refurbish existing office furniture if possible.
10. Find out if any of the furniture's metal or plastic parts contain recycled materials,
particularly those with post-consumer recycled content.
11. Look for furniture in which any plastic parts are coded to make recycling easier.
12. If possible, install only wood flooring, furniture, and other products that are made
with wood that has been certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council
(FSC) or another equivalent organization.
13. Reuse wood furnishings that were used previously.
14. Buy paints, paint strippers, and wallcoverings that are made of non-toxic, natural
materials. Currently, the Commonwealth has contracts with several manufactures of
low- or no-VOC paints. These contracts can be accessed through the Department of