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Adopt A Green Purchasing Policy

Sample Green Purchasing Policies

A first step in establishing an environmentally preferable purchasing program is to adopt a green purchasing policy.  Follow the links below to some sample policies adopted by various school boards and city or county agencies.  You will also find a model policy below, written for a local jurisdiction but easily adaptable for a school, district or board.

Santa Cruz City School Board

The Santa Cruz City School Board passed a landmark EPP policy to encourage the use of environmentally preferable products and services and thereby reduce its environmental footprint. Download the PDF of the policy here.

Alameda County Waste Management Authority and Source Reduction and Recycling Board
Stopwaste.org (The Alameda County Waste Management Authority and Source Reduction and Recycling Board) prepared a model environmentally preferable purchasing policy that would not only look at the recycled content of products but also other environmental attributes such as toxics, energy and water use and disposal impact. Go to www.stopwaste.org for exact language and more information.

Stopwaste.org has also produced a supplement to the model policy to help write specifications, evaluate products and services and further implement the policy. See the supplement here.   

California Integrated Waste Management Board

The California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB)  has an excellent website with resources on Environmentally Preferable Purchasing   and many sample procurement policies.  The  jurisdictions below have prepared procurement polices that may be used by other cities, counties, schools and regional agencies in California, as well as by other states, provinces, or countries. The policies represent some of the creative solutions used by local jurisdictions to achieve California's 50 percent waste diversion goals. Visit CIWMB's website for more.

City of Vacaville--Source Reduction and Recycled Content Purchasing Policy

Vacaville's recycled content purchasing policy seeks to strengthen markets for materials collected in local recycling collection systems while ensuring that every department purchases environmentally-preferred products and services without compromising overall budgetary or performance requirements.

City of Pittsburg--Recycled Products Procurement Policy

Pittsburg established ordinances and programs for residents and local businesses to reduce, reuse and recycle. The city has also created some internal programs incorporating recycling.

City of Exeter--Recycled Products Procurement Policy

Exeter's procurement policy declares that all departments shall, whenever possible, use recycled products and recycled materials to meet their needs. This policy is enacted to demonstrate compliance with the Waste Management Reduction Act and foster market development for recycled products.

City of Morro Bay--Recycled Product Purchasing Policy Resolution

Morro Bay established a city wide waste diversion and reduction function through its procurement policy. It mandated each department to appoint a departmental waste diversion coordinator to assure maximum participation in the city’s waste reduction strategies. Also, it created a waste reduction task force to encourage cost-effective waste diversion and recycling.

County of Santa Clara--Policy Relating to the Purchase of Recycled Paper and Recycled Paper Products

Santa Clara County's purchasing policy targets waste paper.  It makes the purchasing agent responsible for establishing and maintaining procedures to purchase recycled products where reasonable and feasible.

More Sample Procurement Policies from CIWMB - Visit CIWMB to get complete links and downloads of policies.

  • In-House Waste Reduction and Recycled-Content Product Procurement Policy. Adopted by the California Integrated Waste Management Board, 1999. Link
  • Environmentally Preferable Procurement Policy. City of San Jose, Council Policy
  • Environmental Purchasing Policy. Public Works Agency, County of Sacramento.  Link
  • Green Procurement and Sustainable Practices Policy. County of Nevada. 
  • Model Recycled Product Procurement Policy for Environmentally Preferable Products. King County (Washington) Environmental Purchasing Program.
  • Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance. City and County of San Francisco. Link
  • Ordinances and Policies for Waste Reduction at Venue Facilities and Large Events. Link
  • Policy on Waste Reduction and Recycling. California Department of Water Resources.
  • Green Procurement Policy Resolution. County of Ventura, January 15, 2002. Link
  • Waste Reduction Policy. California Resources Agency.

Additional sample procurement policies are available from the CIWMB's Local Assistance Library as well as the Board's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Laws and Policies page.

Sample EPP Policy from Green Guardian

(name of jurisdiction) Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Resolution
EFFECTIVE DATE: ____________
Subject    Section 1.0   
Purpose    Section 2.0    
Definitions  Section 3.0  
Background  Section 4.0  
General Policies Section 5.0  
Research, Planning, and Education  Section 6.0   
Sample Specifications  Section 7.0  
Performance and Availability  Section 8.0   

The goal of this policy is to encourage and increase the use of environmentally preferable products and services in (jurisdiction). By including environmental considerations in purchasing decisions, (jurisdiction) can promote practices that improve public and worker health, conserve natural resources, and reward environmentally conscious manufacturers, while remaining fiscally responsible.

For the purpose of this resolution, the following definitions shall apply:
"Available locally" means that one or more businesses within the county/city or immediate surrounding areas are able to provide goods and services in a timely manner, and in sufficient quantity and quality to meet a specific department/agency need.
"Biodegradable" means the ability of a substance, material, or product ingredient to readily decompose by the action of microbes.
"Chlorofluorocarbon, (CFC)" refers to the family of compounds of chlorine, fluorine, and carbon. CFC's contribute to the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, and have been used as an ingredient for refrigerants, solvents, and for blowing plastic-foam insulation and packaging. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer calls for complete elimination of CFC production.
"Environmentally preferable products and services" as defined by Presidential Executive Order 13101, means products and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared to competing products and services that serve the same purpose. This applies to raw material acquisition, as well as product manufacturing, distribution, use, maintenance, and disposal.
"Green building practices" means the incorporation of environmental, health, and waste prevention criteria in building design, site-planning and preparation, materials acquisition, construction or remodeling, deconstruction, and waste disposal.
"Integrated pest management" means the use of a combination of pest control methods including improved sanitation, mechanical, physical, biological, or chemical means.
"Post-consumer recycled material" refers to material that has served its intended use and has been discarded for disposal or recovery, having completed its life as a consumer item, and is used as a raw material for new products.
"Practicable" means satisfactory and within reason when considering price, performance, availability, compatibility with specified operation, and public safety.
"Price-preference" means a percentage of increase in price that (jurisdiction) will pay to obtain a designated product or service.
"Processed-chlorine free paper" refers to paper that is manufactured using a percentage of post-consumer recycled paper fiber (that may contain residues of chlorine) and is whitened without adding chlorine or chlorine derivatives.
"Rainforest hardwood/tropical wood" means wood that originates from trees grown in a rainforest.
"Recyclable" refers to a material or product that can be reprocessed, remanufactured, or reused.

Local and state government, combined, purchase more than $1 trillion of goods and services each year. Many of these products contribute to problems in the overall environment, including contamination of the air and water, and depletion of environmental resources. In some instances, products require special waste disposal and reporting procedures which can be cumbersome and expensive. Furthermore, local government employees using these products may be exposed to compounds that are potentially harmful to their health.
(Jurisdiction) has an opportunity to serve as a community model for environmental leadership by incorporating a plan of action that will conserve precious resources such as water, raw materials, and energy, reduce the use of hazardous substances, and potentially improve the environmental quality of the region. By incorporating environmental considerations in public purchasing, (jurisdiction) can reduce its burden on the local and global environment, remove unnecessary hazards from its operations, protect public health, reduce costs and liabilities, and help develop markets for environmentally responsible products.

The Office of (Procurement, County/City Manager, and/or Environment, etc.) shall coordinate the establishment of a special interdepartmental Environmental Purchasing Task Force (hereinafter "the Task Force") including one representative from public administration (County/City Manager, Commissioner, Freeholder, City Council member, etc.), representatives from purchasing, parks and recreation, environmental services, construction/property management, vehicle/equipment maintenance, and other relevant departments/operations to (1) identify opportunities for environmental purchasing initiatives, (2) provide a forum for open discussion by affected personnel, and (3) educate and inform staff about the environmental purchasing program. The Task Force shall meet quarterly following the adoption of this policy.
The Task Force shall designate an Environmental Purchasing Coordinator(s) (hereinafter "the Coordinator") to provide oversight to the Task Force, discuss with individual departments opportunities to increase environmental purchasing where relevant, coordinate outreach/training for staff, report to jurisdiction leadership, and provide general support to maintain the environmental purchasing program.
By (date), the Task Force shall encourage a minimum of one department to perform a pilot or demonstration study of environmentally preferable purchasing. The following departments and operations are potential sites for environmental purchasing demonstrations: vehicle/equipment maintenance, construction/property management, parks and recreation, janitorial services, public works, pest control, or administration. The Coordinator(s) shall provide technical/logistical assistance to help said departments incorporate environmentally preferable products into their operations. Results of initial pilot studies shall be evaluated and reported to (jurisdiction governing body). As feasible, all departments are encouraged to advance environmental purchasing for their specific operations by initiating pilot studies.
Based on the results of the pilot studies, all departments, offices, and agencies shall use, and require their contractors and consultants to use, environmentally preferable products where practicable no later than (date).

The Environmental Purchasing Task Force shall research opportunities to (a) expand the purchase of environmentally preferable products; (b) identify environmentally preferable alternatives; (c) recommend goals, where practicable, to practice alternative processes within (jurisdiction) operations that will reduce the use/disposal of hazardous substances and will promote resource conservation; and (d) collect and maintain up-to-date information regarding manufacturers, vendors, and other sources for locating/ordering environmentally preferable products. The Task Force and/or Coordinator(s) shall provide applicable information to departments.
The Coordinator(s) shall submit annual reports to the (governing entity) by (date) regarding the status of this policy's implementation. This report shall include total purchases of environmentally preferable products by each department, results of designated product evaluations, and the financial status for implementation of this policy including indirect and direct costs/savings.
Relevant departments, offices, and agencies shall assign staff to:
ensure that contracting procedures do not discriminate against reusable, recycled, or environmentally preferable products without justification;
evaluate environmentally preferable products to determine the extent to which they may be used by the agency and its contractors;
review and revise contracting procedures to maximize the specification of designated environmentally preferable products where practicable;
facilitate data collection on purchases of designated environmentally preferable products by the agency and its contractors and report the data to the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Coordinator(s) by (date) each year for inclusion in the annual report to the (jurisdiction governing entity).

Nothing contained in this policy shall be construed as requiring a department or contractor to procure products that do not perform adequately for their intended use, exclude adequate competition, or are not available at a reasonable price in a reasonable period of time.

Note: This resolution should be tailored to suit the individual needs and circumstances of your community.

Source: www.greenguardian.com

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Green Buying Tools

"Environmentally Preferable Purchasing" or "Green Purchasing" means integrating environmental and health factors into all procurement policies and decisions. Green purchasing can also save money, protect students and staff, and reduce liability—something schools everywhere should care about.

The following tools will help you get started:

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Disclaimer: Listing in this Directory should not be construed as a recommendation or endorsement by Green Schools Initiative or any of its supporters or partners. GSI is providing this information as a public service to promote the use of greener practices and products. Listings in this Directory are based on information obtained from the product manufacturer, supplier, or service provider in question, and may not be complete. GSI reviews the information obtained from these sources to determine if its meets our health and environmental criteria, but does not independently verify the information. GSI provides no warranty or guarantee of product performance, safety, price, or availability.