Sustainable Procurement

Mark Ortiz, University of California San Diego

Like every research-based university, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) disposes of hundreds of thousands of pounds of hazardous waste every year.  To address this, UCSD’s Environmental Health & Safety department created a chemical reallocation program, known as Chemcycle.  The program accepts unwanted chemicals set for disposal and reallocates them to other labs free of charge.  The Chemcycle program was successful for many years, transacting hundreds of chemicals per year, saving the university and the researchers hundreds of thousands of dollars in chemical purchases and in hazardous waste disposal fees.  Unfortunately, over time the program declined to the point of obscurity where only a few chemicals were being transacted per year. To save the Chemcycle program, EH&S and Integrated Procure-to-Pay Solutions (IPPS) collaborated to integrate the Chemcycle program into UCSD’s e-procurement platform, Marketplace.  By setting up EH&S as an internal supplier on Marketplace the entire Chemcycle inventory can be listed alongside the new chemicals from external suppliers, allowing for a seamless integration of the chemical reuse program into UCSD’s purchasing work flow.  To further reduce the environmental impact of the university’s lab supply purchases, IPPS collaborated with My Green Lab and key life sciences suppliers to integrate the ACT label into product listings on Marketplace.  This has resulted in an unprecedented transparency of the environmental impacts of lab supplies previously unavailable to researchers.  UCSD’s goal is to continue to set the example for ACT label integration for potential adoption of the label in the UC Office of the President’s Sustainable Purchasing Guidelines, a document that defines purchasing standards for all 10 UC campuses and UC national laboratories.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the benefits of developing a chemical reallocation program.
  • Learn the benefits of integrating that program into an ecommerce platform. 
  • Determine the cost avoidance of the program and how to present it to leadership to get support for the program. 
  • Learn about the ACT label and how to integrate the label into an ecommerce catalog. 


A UCSD alumni himself, Mark Ortiz started working for the University of California San Diego in early 2013 as a Supplier Relations Manager for the university.  Since then he has help found several sustainability working groups and has sat on executive boards both on and off campus.  Some of these working groups include the current UCSD Green Labs program, the Staff Sustainability Network (staff association), the UCSD Advisory Committee on Sustainability, the current UCSD Zero Waste Working Group, the UCOP Sustainable Procurement Working Group and most recently the UCSD Sustainable Business Travel Working Group.  He currently holds the position as the university’s Corporate Responsibility Program Manager where his primary focus is defining and developing the strategic direction of the university’s sustainable supply chain operations and initiatives related to the procure-to-pay process.


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