Green Purchasing

Green procurement purchasing strategies have shown time and again that cost savings, pollution prevention, environmental benefits, and human health improvements can coexist harmoniously. Environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) takes into account a life cycle evaluation and includes purchasing of goods and services with reduced human health and environmental impacts that are less than baseline product category impacts. “This comparison shall take into consideration, to the extent feasible, raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance, disposal, energy efficiency, product performance, durability, safety, the needs of the purchaser, and cost." By considering environmental impacts in public purchasing, local governments can limit unnecessary depletion of resources, energy, and hazards and risks as part of municipal operations, protect public health, reduce costs and liabilities, and potentially improve the environmental quality in the region.

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Policy

  • Adopt and Implement an EPP Procurement Policy

    An EPP policy can help to minimize environmental impacts while reducing toxicity, conserving natural resources, materials, and energy, and maximizing recyclability and recycled content. EPP procurement practices also create healthier places to live and work. The Institute for Local Government offers a sample Climate Friendly Purchasing Policy and provides links to sample EPP policies adopted by cities and counties throughout California.

  • Create an Interdepartmental Team

    Create an interdepartmental team to 1) promote policy implementation, 2) track policy adherence, and 3) evaluate and prioritize key product categories and specifications to be included in the agency’s climate-friendly purchasing program to have significant impact reductions.

  • Use the State of California EPP Buyers Guide

    The Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Buyers Guide can assist local government purchasing officials with practicing environmentally preferable purchasing. The EPP Best Practices Manual provides guidance on purchasing decisions related to batteries, building maintenance, grounds maintenance, medical supplies, office machines, office supplies, outdoor furnishings, paper products, printing, and vehicles/transportation. The manual will help you:

    • Write environmental specifications into your bid solicitations
    • Tap into websites and other resources related to EPP
    • Choose more environmentally preferable products and services in over 40 product categories
    • Become educated on the environmental impacts associated with the manufacture and purchase of numerous products and services
    • Identify ways you can reduce waste in your office, shop, or facility
    • Locate surplus and reuse programs to obtain low-cost or used equipments and supplies
  • Reuse Surplus Furniture and Equipment

    By reusing surplus office equipment, local governments can avoid the need to purchase new materials. In some cases, refurbishing office furniture can be less expensive than purchasing new supplies.

  • Identify and Use Products that are Certified or Comply with Environmentally Preferable Product Standards and Criteria

    • Energy Efficiency
      By purchasing copiers, fax machines, computers, scanners, exit signs, heating and cooling products, air hand dryers for restrooms, windows and other equipment with the ENERGY STAR® label, local governments save money while reducing energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
    • High Post-consumer Recycled Content
      Various studies highlight the life-cycle energy savings associated with making products from recycled content materials versus virgin materials. This occurs because extracting or harvesting raw materials from the earth is energy intensive. To close the "cradle-to-cradle" loop, purchase products made from post-consumer recycled content.
    • Water Efficient Products
      It takes considerable energy to pump and treat water so by using less, we save energy and reduce GHG emissions.
    • Manufactured from Green Business
      Facilities with an Environmental Management System that defines quantifiable impact reductions over time have taken an important step toward green manufacturing.
  • Find an Existing Contract or Issue a New Contract to Purchase the Desired Product

    Any local governmental entity in the State of California that is empowered to expend public funds may utilize designated State contracts, per Public Contract Code Section 10298, et.seq.

Education and Outreach

  • Initiate an Internal Education Program and Educate Residents and Small Businesses

    Educate purchasing officials within your organization and with local residents about environmentally preferable products and climate friendly procurement opportunities. Local governments can also work with the business community to educate them about climate friendly procurement opportunities. Many, if not most environmental preferable products are climate friendly because energy is one of the criterion considered in defining an environmentally preferable product.