Improving Air Quality in Your Community
Indoor Air: Green Procurement
You can help businesses and agencies reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) that may affect employees, their families, and the community by conducting these activities:
- Sponsor public awareness activities.
- Encourage implementation of green procurement programs.
- Encourage development or adoption of green procurement regulations.
- Develop green procurement resources for local businesses and governments.
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Sponsor Public Awareness ActivitiesHow?
- Develop educational materials for use in other awareness activities. The materials should have two goals:
- Educate local businesses and governments about the benefits of green procurement.
- Educate the public on how to make "green" decisions when purchasing products.
- Sponsor a "Buy Green Month" where you can encourage local businesses and governments to implement green procurement programs.
- Maintain a green procurement table at public places such as libraries, community centers, and government buildings. These tables could be used to inform the public of how various local businesses and governments are implementing green procurement programs.
- Sponsor a green procurement booth at local events, trade shows, and conference.
- Develop awards and/or certificates for local businesses and governments to use once they have successfully implemented their green procurement program.
- Increases implementation of green procurement programs by local businesses and governments.
- Increases awareness by the public of how green procurement can improve air quality as well as lessen other environmental impacts.
- Costs associated with producing publicity materials.
- Time and labor costs to maintain tables and booths.
- EPA brochure reviewing green procurement success stories within the federal government (PDF) (12pp, 693k).
- The Carpet and Rug Institute sponsors a Green Label Program for rugs and carpets that meet certain standards.
Encourage Implementation of Green Procurement ProgramsHow?
- Survey local businesses and governments to determine where they could benefit from green procurement.
- Develop an analysis of where local businesses and governments could implement a green procurement program.
- Create a presentation showing the results of your analysis.
- Visit with local businesses and governments and share the results of your analysis.
- As part of its pilot project for green procurement in cleaning products, the federal courthouse in Philadelphia tested traditional cleaning products and alternative cleaning products. The alternative cleaning products were just as effective as the traditional cleaning products but without the adverse health effects.
- By implementing green procurement, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks reduced the number of cleaning products used from 130 to 15 (EPA). Fort Bragg, North Carolina used green procurement principles when purchasing new digital printing equipment. The Base eliminated 1,500 gallons of hazardous waste from its printing operations and slashed its chemical purchasing and disposal costs by more than $100,000 a year (EPA).
- Increases awareness by local businesses and governments as to the benefits of implementing a green procurement program.
- Improves indoor air quality due to the implementation of a green procurement program.
- Costs associated with hiring an outside contractor to help with the analysis.
- Time and labor to develop presentation and share with local businesses and governments.
- EPA's Buying Green Online: Greening Government E-Procurement of Office Supplies (PDF) (76pp, 2.1 MB).
- EPA's pilot survey for cleaning products (PDF) (25pp, 388k).
- Additional case studies (PDF) (12pp, 693k) from the federal government.
- Case study from Massachusetts (PDF) (23pp, 1.9 MB)
- Green procurement in the private sector (PDF) (44pp, 1.8 MB).
- City of Santa Monica case study (PDF) (31pp, 723k).
Encourage Development or Adoption of Green Procurement RegulationsHow?
- Determine where a green procurement program would have the most positive impact.
- Work with local businesses and governments to develop achievable goals.
- Determine the most appropriate way to achieve these goals. Some goals may be feasible via voluntary regulations while other goals may require mandatory regulations.
- Consider adding green procurement language into contracts for various services such as cleaning, copier, or maintenance services.
- Reduces impact to indoor air quality from air emissions.
- Time and labor associated with meetings for developing contracts and/or standards.
- The California Air Resources Board has developed regulations and test methods for consumer products.
- Green Seal has developed green procurement standards (PDF) (2pp, 82k).
- Green Seal janitorial products standards (PDF) (14pp, 138k), paints, and industrial and institutional floor-care products (PDF) (6pp, 165k).
- Cleaning product specifications in King County, Washington.
- Cleaning services contract for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
- Janitorial product environmental criteria (PDF) (7pp, 224k) and specifications (PDF) (66pp, 1.2 MB) for the City of Seattle.
Develop Green Procurement Resources for Local Businesses and GovernmentsHow?
- Create a database with links to green procurement resources. You could post this database on a Web page.
- Develop a list of consultants who could assist local businesses and governments in determining where and how they could implement a green procurement program.
- Increases awareness about and implementation of green procurement programs.
- Time and labor associated with data collection and input.
- EPA has developed a database of products and services that are environmentally friendly.
- Green Seal has also developed a database of products it has certified.