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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.
Simple, Low-Cost Investments to Buy Green
- Design and adopt an EPP equipment procurement plan. To help you get started, review the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Model Policy & Implementation Guidance.
- Use green cleaning products. Find them in the California's EPP Best Practices Manual.
- Purchase EPP office supplies. Find them in the California's EPP Best Practices Manual.
Longer Term Investments to Buy Green
- Purchase Energy Star Office Equipment
By purchasing copiers, fax machines, computers, scanners, exit signs, heating and cooling products, windows and other equipment with the ENEGY STAR label, businesses can save money while reducing energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
Plan to Buy Green
Form an EPP Team or Designate an EPP Buyer
The team or designated buyer will 1) ensure EPP goals are set, 2) promote EPP procurement plan, 3) track policy adherence, and 4) suggest additional items to be included in the business's climate-friendly purchasing program.
Set goals for number of EPP purchased, cost reduction, and/or other goals appropriate for your business.
Guides location and selection of environmentally preferable products. The manual will help you:
- Write environmental specifications into bid solicitations.
- Choose more environmentally preferable products and services in numerous 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 equipment and supplies.
- Identify Web sites and other resources related to EPP.
Measure Progress at Regular Intervals
CC License: Attribution 2.0 Generic
- The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery
Hosts a Recycled Products Database.
Alameda County Waste Management Authority and the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board operating as one public agency. Developed many useful EPP resources.
- EPP Fact Sheets
- Environmentally Preferable Janitorial Cleaning Products For Commercial Applications
- How to Buy Environmentally Preferable Paper Office Products in Alameda County
- How to Buy Environmentally Preferable Nonpaper Office Products in Alameda County
- How to Buy Remanufactured Toner Cartridges in Alameda County
- How to Buy Environmentally Preferable Janitorial Paper Supplies in Alameda County
- How to Buy Recycled Content Park and Recreation Products in Alameda County
- How to Buy Recycled Content Transportation Products in Alameda County
- Using Rechargeable Batteries
- Biodiesel Fuel Use in Heavy-duty Vehicles
- Stopwaste.org's EPP Guide
Lists various types of products (e.g. paper office supplies, office furnishings, janitorial cleaning products, etc.), the environmental attribute to consider when purchasing, the source of the associated “green” standard or guideline on which the environmental attribute is based, and notes or links for further information about that specific type of product.
- Stopwaste.org compiled a list of commercial products and the environmental attributes to consider when purchasing or specifying these products
- Stopwaste.org's Guide to Green Maintenance & Operations
Includes considerations for selecting and purchasing environmentally preferable products in building maintenance. Practical, effective operation and maintenance strategies for energy efficiency, conserving natural resources, and protecting indoor air quality are discussed and integrated.
- Stopwaste.org's Resources Specific to Government & Business Purchasers
- A Resource Guide for Environmentally Preferable Products
In table format, the Guide lists various types of products (paper office supplies, office furnishings, and janitorial cleaning products, for example), the environmental attribute to consider when purchasing, the source of the associated "green" standard or guideline on which the environmental attribute is based, and notes or links for further information about that specific type of product.
- Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Model Policy & Implementation Guidance
The Model Policy can be customized for any organization’s purchasing procedures and priorities. The accompanying Implementation Guidance gives more information about policy sections on Source Reduction, Recycled Content Products, Energy and Water Savings, Green Building, Landscaping, and Toxics and Pollution.
Bay-Friendly Landscaping Program
Promotes sustainable landscape practices.
- California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery Recycled-Content Product Directory
Database that provides access to information on recycled content products as well as the manufacturers, distributors, reprocessors, mills, and converters that manufacture or supply these products or the recycled materials to make them.
- U.S. EPA Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program
Federal-wide program that encourages and assists agencies in the purchasing of environmentally preferable products and services.
- U.S. EPA Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines
Part of EPA's effort to promote the use of recycled products to federal agencies and others. Product fact sheets on this website give suggested minimums for the amount of recycled content in different types of products.
- Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (Green Electronics Made Easy)
System to help purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, notebooks and monitors based on their environmental attributes.
- Responsible Purchasing Network
Non-profit organization established its Procurement Strategies Program to help state and local governments and other large purchasers incorporate environmental considerations into their purchasing decisions. Website contains many government environmental purchasing policies and other purchasing resources.
- Green Seal
Independent, non-profit organization that sets environmental standards and certifies products that meet those standards. Green Seal standards cite international test methods for evaluating product performance or environmental attributes such as toxicity, and its procedures conform to international standards for eco-labeling.
- Scientific Certification Systems
Provides independent third-party evaluation and certification of environmental claims in product manufacturing, among other programs in manufacturing, food and agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and electricity.
- Green Office Guide
Guide produced by the City of Portland, Oregon for greening bottom-line through a resource-efficient office environment. It contains information about purchasing a wide range of office products and equipment in connection with resource-efficient operational practices.
- Ecological Guide to Paper
Produced by Celery Design Collaborative of ecological papers and their attributes. Particularly useful for graphic designers and government purchasers wanting to specify environmental papers.