Paper products promote sustainability

Author: Rachel Novick


In a major step forward in sustainable purchasing, Notre Dame’s Procurement Services has partnered with Kimberly-Clark Corporation to introduce bathroom tissue and paper towels on campus with significantly higher average recycled content and less packaging waste.

“This achievement was the result of a collaborative team effort on the part of Procurement Services, Building Services and the Office of Sustainability with an emphasis on product quality, economic savings, and sustainable choices,” said Procurement Specialist Tom Rogers. “The new coreless bathroom tissue contains more tissue per roll and has no cardboard tube to throw away, resulting in a 47% reduction in packaging waste. Paper towels now come on bigger rolls, so they run out less often and require less packaging.”

Overall, the product changes will result in 543 million BTU of energy savings and 513,000 gallons in water savings annually. That’s the equivalent of over 2,100 days worth of energy for a typical American household and 25 swimming pools worth of water.

“We just received the first truckload of the new products and I’m excited about them for three reasons,” said Chris Hatfield, Associate Director of Building Services. “First, we got a tremendous cost savings. Second, we’ve got sustainability improvements in almost every item we use. Third, we’re building in more efficiency for our staff while still providing excellent customer service.”

All of the new products are certified either by Green Seal or the Forest Stewardship Council. Green Seal is the largest US-based eco-labeling organization and conducts a stringent life cycle assessment of each certified product’s impact on the environment and human health. The Forest Stewardship Council logo ensures that wood products are sourced from responsibly managed forests.

The new contract with Kimberly-Clark is part of a broader effort to prioritize sustainability in campus procurement. Other initiatives include reduced pricing for Office Depot’s Green-Top recycled copy paper, delivery of Office Depot supplies in reusable totes, and paperless expense reporting through the travelND program.