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Resources

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Resource Guides

A brief resource guide describing the CPG program (PDF) (6 pp, 187K).

Product Resource Guides

EPA's Comprehensive Procurement Guideline (CPG) program helps agencies "close the loop" by buying recycled products. EPA published a series of product resource guides summarizing information on the CPG program; EPA's recovered materials content recommendations; case studies from around the country; and key resources, associations, and Web sites.

There are eight product resource guides in all, one for each CPG product category.


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Frequent Questions

Q: How are products selected for designation in the CPG?

A: EPA reviews a broad list of potential products made from recovered materials. EPA compiles this list through various sources of publicly available information and includes items previously researched and still under consideration by EPA. For more information on this process, please see the Product Designation Criteria and Process page.


Q: How does EPA evaluate the products?

A: RCRA requires EPA to consider several criteria when determining which items it will designate, including the availability of the item; the potential impact of procurement on the solid waste stream; the economic and technological feasibility of producing the item; and other uses of the recovered materials used to produce the item. EPA also considers comments from end users, manufacturers, distributors, the general public, and other interested parties through a formal rulemaking process to designate items. For more information on this process, please see the Product Designation Criteria and Process page.


Q: Who is required to buy recycled content products?

A: The RCRA requirement to buy products containing recovered materials applies to procuring agencies that spend more than $10,000 a year on that item. Procuring agencies are federal, state, and local agencies, and their contractors, that use appropriated federal funds. For example, if a county agency spends more than $10,000 a year on an EPA-designated item and part of that money is from appropriated federal funds, then the agency must purchase that item made from recovered materials. Agencies may elect not to purchase designated items when the cost is unreasonable; inadequate competition exists; items are not available within a reasonable period of time; or items do not meet the agency's reasonable performance specifications.


Q: What is an affirmative procurement program?

A: Within one year after EPA designates an item in the CPG, RCRA section 6002(i) requires each procuring agency purchasing more than $10,000 of that item, or functionally equivalent items, in a fiscal year, to establish an affirmative procurement program for that item. For more information, download a summary of requirements for affirmative procurement programs (PDF) (8 pp, 146 K)


Q: Are items designated in the CPG "environmentally preferable" products?

A: Generally, yes. The Executive Order 13423 Implementing Instructions define "environmentally preferable products" as products that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared to other products and services that serve the same purpose. Multiple attributes may be considered when purchasing environmentally preferable products, including energy use, conservation of resources, and others. Items designated in the CPG reflect one attribute, recycled content, although some products can address other attributes as well. Please see EPA's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing page for more information.


Q: What is the difference between postconsumer and recovered materials?

A: Postconsumer material means a material or finished product that has served its intended use and has been diverted or recovered from waste destined for disposal, having completed its life as a consumer item. Recovered material means waste materials and byproducts that have been recovered or diverted from solid waste, but does not include materials and byproducts generated from, and commonly reused within, an original manufacturing process. Postconsumer material is a subset of recovered material.


Q: How do we know if products contain the recovered content claimed by the manufacturer?

A: It is the responsibility of the procuring agency, as part of its affirmative procurement program, to obtain estimates and certifications of recovered materials content and, where appropriate, reasonably verifying these estimates and certifications.


Q: How do I get my company added to EPA's list of manufacturers, suppliers, and vendors?

A: If your company produces a designated item with recovered material content within the ranges recommended by EPA in its RMAN, visit the Supplier Support page for more information on how to be added to the Product Supplier Directory.


Q: How do I propose a product for designation?

A: See the Product Designation Criteria and Process page.


Q: How are the CPG requirements enforced?

A: RCRA does not authorize EPA or any other federal agency to enforce the provisions of section 6002 and the guidelines. The requirements to purchase EPA-designated products and other products with energy or environmental attributes are enforced through (1) annual reporting to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, (2) inclusion of green purchasing on the OMB environmental stewardship scorecard, and (3) agency annual compliance monitoring of implementation of the green purchasing requirements.


Q: What are the Estimation, Certification, Verification, and Monitoring?

A: Agencies should use standard contract provisions to estimate, certify, and, where appropriate, reasonably verify the recovered materials content in a product procured by an agency. Programs also must be monitored and tracked to ensure that they are fulfilling their requirements to purchase items composed of recovered materials. The E.O. 13423 implementing instructions require agencies to report compliance annually to the Federal Environmental Executive (FEE).


Q: May an Agency purchase CPG items that do not contain recovered materials?

A: Agencies may elect not to purchase designated items containing recovered materials when the cost is unreasonable, inadequate competition exists, items are not available within a reasonable period of time, or items do not meet reasonable performance specifications.


Q: Does the FAR address purchasing of products designated in the CPG?

A: Under RCRA section 6002, purchasing of EPA-designated items must be consistent with other federal procurement requirements. The FAR is the primary regulation used by federal executive agencies in their acquisition of supplies and services. On August 22, 1997, a final rule was published in the FR (62 FR 44809) amending the FAR to reflect the federal government's preference for the acquisition of recycled-content, energy-efficient, biobased, and environmentally preferable products and services and to incorporate the requirements of RCRA section 6002. These FAR reisions included solicitation provisions, clauses for obtaining certifications and estimates of recovered materials content from contractors, and a requirement that agencies establish an affirmative procurement program for EPA-designated items. Further FAR revisions are pending, including a revision clarifying that the requirements to purchase EPA-designated items apply to services contracts and construction contracts. The FAR can be accessed electronically. Select the section that includes Part 23.


Q: What Is the Difference Between Items Designated in the CPG and Environmentally Preferable Products?

A: All CPG products are required to have recovered-content material. Recovered-content material is one of a number of environmentally preferable attributes products may have. E.O. 13423 directs agencies to purchase a range of green products and services, including recycled-content products and environmentally preferable products and services. Environmentally preferable is defined in the March 28, 2007 E.O. 13423 Implementing Instructions as products or services "that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose." The criteria for environmentally preferable products include multiple attributes such as energy use; conservation of resources; impacts on air, water, and land; and use of toxic or hazardous constituents. While all recycled-content products are green products, they might not be as environmentally preferable as others in a given situation where an agency has a functional need emphasizing a different energy or environmental attribute, such as no volatile organic compound content. However, recovered-content products can have additional environmentally preferable attributes.

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Glossary

Affirmative Procurement Program

RCRA section 6002 requires each procuring agency to establish an affirmative procurement program (APP) for maximizing its purchases of EPA-designated items. The program should be developed in a manner that ensures that items composed of recovered materials are purchased to the maximum extent practicable consistent with federal procurement law.

Coal Fly Ash

A by-product of coal burning at electricity plants. It is called "fly" ash because it is transported from the combustion chamber by exhaust gases.

CPG

Through the Comprehensive Procurement Guideline (CPG), EPA designates items that must contain recycled content when purchased by federal, state, and local agencies, or by government contractors using appropriated federal funds. The E.O. 13423 implementing instructions direct EPA to periodically review existing CPG product designations for effectiveness, obsolescence, and consistency with other product designation programs.

Crumb Rubber

Fine granular or powdered rubber capable of being used to make a variety of products. It is recovered from scrap tires using thermal and/or mechanical processing techniques. Crumb rubber also is derived from the tire retreading process, when worn tire tread is removed during a buffing process before the new tread is affixed.

Designated Products

Products that are or can be made from recovered materials that have been designated in the CPG through EPA's formal rulemaking process. Also referred to as "designated items."

Executive Order 13101

E.O. 13101 was revoked and replaced by E.O. 13423 in January 2007. Entitled Greening the Government Through Waste Prevention, Recycling, and Federal Acquisition, Executive Order (E.O.) 13101 (PDF) (11 pp, 83K) was signed on September 14, 1998. This Order replaced E.O. 12873 (PDF) (9 pp, 36K) and reinforced the federal government's buy-recycled efforts. E.O. 13101 established a process for amending the CPG originally promulgated under E.O. 12873. E.O. 13101 required EPA to amend the CPG every two years, or as appropriate. The Order also required EPA to issue RMANs concurrent with the CPG amendments, and to update them periodically. However, EPA continues to follow certain procedures of E.O. 13101, such as issuing RMANs concurrent with CPG amendments, since they are consistent with the requirements of RCRA 6002(e).

Executive Order 13423

Entitled Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management, E.O. 13423 (PDF) (7 pp, 104K) was signed on January 26, 2007. This Order replaced Executive Order (E.O.) 13101 (PDF) (11 pp, 83K) and requires federal agencies to purchase green products and services, including recycled content products, energy- and water-efficient products, biobased products, and environmentally preferable products and services. Executive Order 13423 Implementing Instructions (PDF) (51 pp, 150K) directs EPA to review existing CPG product designations for effectiveness, obsolescence, and consistency with the biobased products designation program, environmentally preferable purchasing program, Energy StarŪ and FEMP-designated energy efficient products program. Although E.O. 13423 revoked E.O. 13101, EPA continues to follow certain procedures of E.O. 13101 since they are consistent with the requirements of RCRA 6002(e).

GGBF

Ground granulated blast furnace slag. A by-product of iron blast furnaces. The slag is ground into granules finer than Portland cement and can be used as an ingredient in concrete.

Green Purchasing Plan (GPP)

A green purchasing plan is an agency's strategy for maximizing its purchases of green products and services, including EPA-designated items. The plan should be developed in a manner that ensures that green products and services are purchased to the maximum extent practicable consistent with federal procurement law. Agencies must demonstrate that they have green purchasing plans that include the EPA-designated items, purchase the products, monitor implementation of their green purchasing programs, and take corrective action.

HDPE

High density polyethylene. A plastic resin used in products and packaging such as milk jugs, detergent bottles, margarine tubs, and garbage containers.

LDPE

Low density polyethylene. A plastic resin used for both rigid containers and plastic film applications such as plastic bags and film wrap.

LLDPE

Linear low density polyethylene. A plastic that is used predominantly in film applications due to its toughness, flexibility, and relative transparency.

Materials in Solid Waste

Materials found in the various components of the solid waste stream. Generally, solid waste has several components, such as municipal solid waste (MSW), construction and demolition debris (C&D), and nonhazardous industrial waste. Under RCRA section 6002, EPA considers materials recovered from any component of the solid waste stream when designating items containing recovered materials.

PE

Polyethylene. A flexible plastic used in many household items including plastic wrap and food containers.

PET

Polyethylene Terephthalate. A thermoplastic material used to manufacture plastic soft drink containers and rigid containers.

Postconsumer Materials

A material or finished product that has served its intended use and has been diverted or recovered from waste destined for disposal, having completed its life as a consumer item. Postconsumer materials are part of the broader category of recovered materials.

PP

Polypropylene. A plastic polymer that has good resistance to heat and is used in flexible and rigid packaging, film, and textiles.

Preconsumer Materials

Materials generated in manufacturing and converting processes, such as manufacturing scrap and trimmings/cuttings.

Procuring Agency

Any federal agency, or any state agency or agency of a political subdivision of a state, that is using appropriated federal funds for procurement.

PS

Polystyrene. A plastic polymer used to make a variety of products including plastic cutlery and food containers. It is often used in its foamed state.

PVC

Polyvinyl chloride. A family of plastic copolymers, also known as vinyl. PVC is used to make products such as pipes, bottles, upholstery, and automotive parts.

RCRA Section 6002

Section 6002 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976, as amended, directs EPA to designate items that are or can be produced with recovered materials and to recommend practices for buying these items. Among other things, RCRA section 6002 also provides criteria for EPA to consider when selecting items for designation, and requires procuring agencies to establish affirmative procurement programs (APP) for designated items.

Recovered Materials

Waste materials and byproducts that have been recovered or diverted from solid waste, but does not include materials and byproducts generated from, and commonly reused within, an original manufacturing process.

RMAN

Recovered Materials Advisory Notices (RMANs) provide purchasing guidance and recommend recovered and postconsumer material content levels for designated items. RMAN recommendations are guidance and therefore are not codified in the Code of Federal Regulations.

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