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Tips for environmental considerations within different product categories

Direct procurement officers at the school are responsible that environmental requirements are imposed where considered relevant. After that it is up to each purchaser to ensure that he/she chooses the more environmentally-friendly products for each purchase.

General tips to reduce the environmental impact from purchasing:

  • Re-use products
  • Choose energy efficient products
  • Choose products with eco-labelling and/or sustainability labelling
  • Avoid long transportation distances for the delivery of products.


Audio and video equipment

Choose energy-efficient alternatives, compare electricity consumption (in stand-by and active mode) using energy labelling. If possible, choose eco-labelled products (Swan, EU Ecolabel or TCO) or products with energy-efficiency labelling (Energy Star).


Choose eco-labelled (Swan) and rechargeable batteries.

Computers and monitors

Choose energy-efficient alternatives, compare electricity consumption (in stand-by and active mode) using energy labelling. If possible, choose eco-labelled products (Swan, EU Ecolabel or TCO) or products with energy-efficiency labelling (Energy Star).

Mobile phones

Choose energy efficient products, or eco-labelled products. TCO labelling covers phones. Care should be taken to ensure the return of old phones for recycling (electronics waste). Mobile phones often contain rare earth metals and substances that are harmful to the environment and to health.

Printers and copiers

Choose energy-efficient alternatives, compare electricity consumption (in stand-by and active mode) using energy labelling. If possible, choose eco-labelled products (Swan, EU Ecolabel or TCO) or products with energy-efficiency labelling (Energy Star). Where possible, choose one large machine instead of several small ones. Choose an office printer/copy machine with functions for double-sided printing and copying, as well as toner save mode. Choose an office printer/copy machine with follow-me-function in order to reduce paper consumption.

Toner and ink cartridges

Choose eco-labelled toner cassettes or ink cartridges (Swan). A Swan-labelled toner cassette can be reconditioned and refilled at least four times before being sent for energy recovery. The toner powder is also checked for environmental and health hazardous chemicals.

White goods

Choose white goods with low energy consumption (compare energy labelling) and low noise level, and which are not treated with silver ions. If possible, choose eco-labelled (Swan and EU Ecolabel).


Choose flowers labelled FFP (Fair Flowers Fair Plants), and if possible, locally produced or fair trade products (Fair Trade). Dutch flowers may be labelled with the MPS A eco-label. During spring season, KRAV-labelled tulips and tulips marked with the Swedish Seal (Svenskt Sigill) are available. Swedish roses can be bought all year round.

Office supplies


Note pads, writing pads, flip charts, etc: Choose eco-labelled paper (Swan). Avoid paper that is waxed, plasticised or has non water-soluble glue, since these are not suitable for recycling.

Copier paper

Choose eco-labelled paper, Swan labelled. Use EU Ecolabel and Swan Ecolabel for copier paper. Paper can also be TCF-labelled (Total Chlorine Free), which means that the paper is bleached totally without chlorine. FSC-labelled means that requirements have been imposed for sustainable forestry. Paper Profile is also available for copier paper, which is an environmental declaration programme for paper production and not eco-labelling. The producers do not need to meet specific emissions requirements, etc. Instead, Paper Profile only reports the emissions, energy consumption, etc., caused by the paper production.


Choose eco-labelled envelopes (Swan) in order to be certain that the paper is environmentally sound.


Choose eco-labelled pens (Swan) intended for whiteboard pens, fluorescent pens, flip chart pens, and felt tip pens, which means minimal amounts of hazardous chemicals. Refillable mechanical pencils are less of a waste of resources than disposable mechanical pencils. If disposable pens are purchased, choose a pen body made from recycled paper. Ballpoint pens must have a long service life and replaceable cartridges. Choose ballpoint pens with a pen body in recycled material or polypropylene plastic (PP).


Binders are also available in recycled material, both recycled paper and recycled polypropylene plastic (PP).


Catering and food ordering

For catering/food ordering, you can specify a number of requirements to the restaurant/catering firm for a more environmentally-friendly meal:

  • Ask for ecological products, and fair trade products, preferably locally produced, and seasonal food and beverages.
  • Ask for tap water and homemade sparkling water. No bottled water.
  • Ask that the catering does not include fish threatened by over-fishing, or red list species in the WWF’s seafood guides.
  • Ask about vegetarian meal options suitable for everyone.
  • Avoid disposable items and metal packaging.

Fruit baskets

Choose a fruit basket that contains organically grown fruit, and adapt it to the season. The eco-labelling used for fruit includes KRAV, the EU logotype for organic food (labelling for ecological considerations) and Fair Trade (labelling for social considerations).

Coffee and tea

Choose coffee and tea with labelling for organic products (KRAV or the EU logotype for organic food) and social consideration (Fair Trade).

Glass, porcelain and accessories

Glass products

Preferably choose products made of recycled glass and products that do not contain heavy metals.

Ceramic products

Choose products that do not contain heavy metals.

Disposable materials

Avoid disposable materials, such as disposable plates, cups and cutlery. If they are still needed, choose environmentally sound disposable materials in corn starch, paper or wood before choosing disposable plastic.

Tissue paper

Choose eco-labelled products - Swan, Bra Miljöval (Good Environmental Choice) or EU Ecolabel. They are available for kitchen and toilet paper, drying paper, paper towels, paper napkins, paper handkerchiefs and coffee filters.

Office furniture and textiles

Investigate the option of using or buying used furniture. See new category in VISUM. When purchasing new furniture, choose eco-labelled furniture (Swan) and textiles (Swan, Bra Miljöval and EU Ecolabel, GOTS, and Fair Trade), if possible.

Light sources

Choose energy-efficient lamps with long service life. Lamps have energy labelling from A to G where A is the most energy efficient. In addition, within the EU there are requirements for information on lamp packaging on average service life, luminous flux, colour temperature, colour rendering and warm-up time. Below is a comparison of LED, low-energy and halogen lamps.

LED lamps

LED lamps do not contain mercury, they last for 10 000 – 25 000 hours and using them results in an energy saving of 80% compared to a light bulb. Some LED lamps are dimmable, but may require a specific dimmer.

Low-energy lamps (fluorescent lamps)

Low energy lamps contain a small amount of mercury and emit a small amount of UV radiation. They last for 6 000 - 10 000 hours. Compared to using a light bulb, they result in an energy saving of 80%. Some low-energy lamps are dimmable, but may require a specific dimmer.

Halogen bulbs

The halogen lamp bears most resemblance to a light bulb. It gets hot and is dimmable. The lamp does not contain mercury and lasts for 2000-3000 hours (240-volt halogen lamps last longer). Using the lamp results in an energy saving of 30% compared to a light bulb.


There are several tips for environmentally friendly travel in KTH’s travel policy and procedure for environmentally sound travel and meetings.


European Commission website, Fair Trade website, University of Gothenburg website, KRAV’s website, Swedish National Food Agency’s website, Stockholm University website, TCO developments website, Uppsala University website, Lampinfo website.

Do you want to know more?

For anyone who wants to know more about environmental requirements or sustainability requirements for procurement, see The National Agency for Public Procurement’s website .

See also the school’s procedure for purchasing and procurement .