UW-Whitewater has adopted a "green cleaning" policy that has been integrated into the entire academic core and Starin Hall. The policy was first tested as a pilot program as part of Starin Hall's LEED Certification. Residence Life has their own custodial staff and purchases their own products, so the policy was not extended to the rest of campus until Laurentide Hall underwent the same process for LEED certification. Once this policy was established and the products were evaluated for effectiveness, it was easier from a purchasing standpoint to just extend the policy to the entire campus once our current stock of cleaning supplies ran out.
The Bureau of Procurement and state agencies will achieve the goals of recycling and waste reduction procurement by revising specifications, bidding effectively, and purchasing recycled products. The Bureau's role is to assist state agencies in complying with current state law. The majority of the following specific material requirements, timetables, deadlines, and compliance requirements come directly from 1989 Wisconsin Act 335, as amended by later legislation. Paper purchased on campus typically carries the FSC Mix Label, although some manufacturers use the SFI label that indicates 100% responsible sourcing. Of the total $75,325 spent on office paper, $62,100 of it was FSC certified.
UW System campuses purchase goods and services through State Procurement. The State of Wisconsin is committed to the involvement of minority, women, and veteran-owned business enterprises in the state's procurement program. UW-Whitewater follows the State's purchasing policy which allows the campus to award contracts to certified minority or veteran-owned businesses who submit the lowest qualified bid when that qualified bid is not more than 5% more than the apparent low bid. Other programs included are The Minority Business Enterprise Program, Woman-Owned Business Enterprise, and Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise. The percentage of these purchases compared to the overall university spend for service and commodities is minimal. Disadvantaged spending is $3,200 and local/community-based businesses is $190,300. The average campus-wide spending is considered an average of $22 million.
At UW-Whitewater, an effort to purchase items that contain recyclable materials and consider life cycle costing was instigated by and the passage of 1989 Wisconsin Act 335 and reinforced with the Recycling Procurement section of the State Procurement Manual. Life cycle cost formulas may include, but are not limited to the applicable costs of energy efficiency, acquisition and conversion, money, transportation, warehousing and distribution, training, operation and maintenance and disposition or resale.
Any energy-related product implemented for the purpose of energy savings is evaluated according to its simple payback, or the length of time it can pay for the initial investment through energy savings. If the simple payback exceeds the useful life of the product, it is deemed infeasible. While this calculation is suitable for purposes of securing state funding, campus projects also incorporate an estimate of maintenance costs, particularly when a project can realize maintenance savings over the existing technology or product.
Therefore, maintenance cost is implicit in the lifetime of the product itself, but servicing more complex systems that might only achieve minimal gains in energy savings lose some degree of credibility, even if they achieve the lifetime payback metric.
An ongoing relationship with the Chartwells staff, including involvement in and consultation with their sustainability program and practices, have ensured their efforts are consistently maintained at a local level. A notable change in purchasing behaviors have revolved around the shift from foam disposable food service containers. They have largely adopted compostable disposables to replace foam products and this effort was largely in response to campus interest in a more sustainable alternative. Generally speaking, however, sustainability is an integral part of Chartwells mission and they are very willing and interested in exploring new possibilities, such as a larger scale composting program, so long as the cost and level of service does not compromise the experience of the students they serve.