Schools can save money by implementing an environmentally preferable purchasing policy. Environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) means purchasing goods and services that are better for human health and the environment as compared to other similar goods and services. Environmentally preferable products are high-quality, durable, less toxic, reusable, recyclable and use less materials, water and energy, thus minimizing the impact on California's climate.
Adopt an EPP Purchasing Policy
Implement an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) program within your school district. Sample procurement policies can be found on the CalRecycle's website.
Use Online Resources to Assist With Purchasing Decisions
There are many programs and resources to help schools buy sustainable products. Schools can use California state procurement contracts to get discounts on many green products. The EPA developed "The Healthy School Environments" website which serves as a portal to on-line resources to help facility managers, school administrators, architects, design engineers, school nurses, parents, teachers and staff to address environmental health issues in schools. The EPA also maintains a Database of Environmental Information for Products and Services- a tool to make it easier to purchase products and services with reduced environmental impacts. The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has a School Waste Reduction Program that provides information to assist school district purchasing agents in their efforts to buy green and healthy products and services. Look to other states like Minnesota's Sustainable Purchasing Guide.
Buy cooperatively or purchase in bulk
Encourage your school and/or district to take advantage of one of the many cooperative purchasing programs. The U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance helps school districts reduce the overall cost of products by pooling the purchasing power of public agencies nationwide. California's Department of General Services contracts with a variety of vendors for recycled products, and can help schools obtain green products.
Form an EPP Team
Each school should have at least one teacher who will advocate for the purchase of green products. The team should 1) ensure EPP goals are set, 2) promote an EPP procurement plan, 3) track policy adherence, and 4) suggest additional items to be included in the school's climate-friendly purchasing program.
Advocate the Purchase of ENERGY STAR Equipment
By purchasing copiers, fax machines, computers, scanners, exit signs, heating and cooling products, windows and other equipment with the ENEGY STAR label, schools can save money while reducing energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
Purchase Green School Supplies
When you purchase new school supplies, opt for more environmentally-friendly products. Examples of EPP products include refillable pens, recycled-content paper and less toxic markers. These products can be found on websites like the Center for Health, Environment & Justice's PVC-free guide.
Advocate Green Purchases
Tell your teachers, write your principal and your school district asking them to be more environmentally- friendly buyers. Ask them to switch to LED light bulbs, use green cleaners and buy recycled-content products.