Sustainable Procurement Tools


This guidance is concerned with the procurement of products or services that may result in the production of waste and minimising that waste and the use of resources in accordance with the waste hierarchy and legal requirements. This reflects a zero-waste goal of preventing unnecessary resource use and using resources as efficiently as possible.

This guidance may be considered, where relevant, alongside Construction Policy Note (CPN) 1/2023 which draws attention to the publication of a new chapter (chapter 18) within the Client Guide to Construction Projects.  The guidance provides an overview of the client’s role in planning for sustainability in construction projects, particularly during the project initiation phase.

It is part of a series of guides which support the sustainable procurement duty tools to help public sector organisations embed sustainability into their procurement processes. This guidance may be considered alongside materials scarcity and security guides.


When waste risks or opportunities are identified, alternative options available must be understood; market intelligence and supplier engagement is key to this.


Description of risk or opportunity

  • is waste routinely produced from products procured or in service delivery?
  • are there opportunities to reduce waste generated and resources consumed, including by extending products’ useful life?


Examples of where significant waste may arise, and significant resource consumption may be involved might be:

  • Packaging and disposal of products or materials in service delivery (such as construction and demolition
  • FM services
  • Food / catering
  • ICT
  • textiles
  • furniture 

Waste can be categorised into ‘regular’ and ‘occasional’ discards and both need to be considered by the buyer. Regular discards are items thrown away on a daily, weekly or monthly basis:

  • paper, cardboard and plastic film from packaging
  • toner cartridges
  • light bulbs

Occasional discards are not regularly thrown away:

  • office furniture
  • ICT equipment


Commodities where there may be opportunities for reuse, repair, recondition or remanufacture might include:

  • Catering equipment & services
  • Cleaning equipment & services
  • Construction
  • Electronic equipment
  • Flooring
  • Furniture
  • Medical devices & equipment
  • Outdoor play equipment
  • Power & hand tools
  • Textiles
  • Tyres
  • Vehicles
  • Waste services


Materials known to be scarce or unsustainable that are found in products procured or in service delivery may include:

  • Bauxite (used in aluminium production)
  • Gallium and indium (used in electronics)
  • Magnesium (used in chemicals, medicine and fertilisers)


Scarce or unsustainable materials, also known as critical raw materials, are those which are economically and strategically important for our economy, but have a high-risk associated with their supply. See the Scarce materials guide for more information.

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