Session 3: How to Implement an EPP Program
Wednesday, July 16, 1997
2:45 - 4:00 pm
- Charlie Bravo, USPS
- Michael Barr, USPS
- Eric Friedman, State of Massachusetts, Operation Services Division
- Kelly Luck, Minnesota Office of Environmental Affairs
- Karl Weiss, Department of Defense
- Nancy Royal Jones, DLA
Speakers presented examples of
innovative EPP programs from various levels of government, the process
used to establish the EPP programs and their key components.
Speaker 1: Charlie Bravo, USPS
As the Manager of the Environmental
Management Policy for the Postal Service, Mr. Bravo serves as a focal
point for all policy on environmental issues for the organization. He
joined the Postal Service in 1974 as an engineer where he was involved
in environmental issues, facilities improvements, new facilities, and
the Energy Investment Program. He represented the Universal Postal Union
at the 18th Session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environmental
USPS has implemented the following environmental initiatives:
- Changes to vehicle fleet
- Changes in amount of chemicals used
- Deployment of new recycling
containers in post office lobbies
(soon to be implemented)
- Sustainable use of natural resources, such as retread tires, rerefined oil, recycled paper (everything sold by USPS uses 20% post-consumer waste)
- Mail transport equipment uses recycled and/or recyclable materials
USPS has found that use of recycled
materials is usually more cost-effective on a per unit cost basis. USPS
incorporates environmental considerations in its business planning process.
One example is the 1997 building design standards. The Santa Barbara facility,
for example, takes advantage of beneficial landscaping (i.e., using plants
most suited to the local environment), which reduces landscape maintenance
and water usage, saving a significant amount of money.
Speaker 2: Michael Barr, USPS
Considerations for a successful EPP Program include the following:
- Approval and buy-in from top management
- Involve organizational elements early in the process (purchasing, environmental, operational, etc.)
- Build your program into your documentation (policies, management instructions, specifications, statements of work, contracts, etc.)
- Stress performance and EPP attributes!
- Training and knowledge about EPP and your efforts is 75-80% of your program
Four examples of implementing EPP at USPS:
- Office supplies and paper products.
For copier paper, USPS issued a management instruction (via a Postal
Bulletin) that allows post offices to buy recycled paper even if it
is 10% more expensive than non-recycled paper. This 10% preference is
built into specifications. USPS does not always purchase from GSA; in
fact the majority of its paper purchases are from private industry directly.
USPS sent GSA a letter to specifically buy recycled content with respect
to postal policy.
Postal products with recycled content include: Express and Priority Mail envelopes, boxes, and tubes; Tyvek Express and Priority Mail envelopes; and an automation compatible envelope made with recycled mail.
USPS has also developed recycling lobby bins made of Gridcore, a cardboard and recycled mail material. 5,000 lobby bins have been ordered and USPS plans to market the bins to the federal government/GSA. USPS has also developed an interdepartmental envelope using recycled mail and also plans to market this product to GSA. USPS is also looking at pressure sensitive adhesives for postage stamp and label applications that do not act as contaminants in the recycling process.
- Chemicals, cleaning products,
supplies. USPS has reduced or eliminated its use of 17 toxic chemicals
in its operations, with virtual elimination by 1998. To accomplish this,
USPS instituted quality assurance reviews and created an environmental
products directory to assist in responsible purchasing decisions at
post offices across the country. Training staff was also instrumental
in reducing/eliminating the use of 17 toxic chemicals.
- Vehicular/transportation equipment
and supplies. USPS has converted 7,000 vehicles to compressed natural
gas, which involved infrastructure changes as well as conversions of
existing vehicles and purchase of new vehicles. In addition, USPS fleet
includes electric and methanol powered vehicles, with 100,000 vehicles
running on re-refined oil. Specifications for re-refined oil stress
performance, not material content.
- Building construction and renovation
products. Green Building Design recommendations were made by an oversight
committee. Facilities incorporated a majority of the recommendations
into their documentation: building design standards; medium, small,
StoreCADD designs; and master specification. USPS participated in a
Green Building Initiative in Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX. USPS has set a goal
of undertaking green building projects in each of USPS' 11 areas.
In addition to building projects, USPS has undertaken the following energy-related projects in its facilities: LED Exit Sign Program (USPS purchased 20,000 units for its facilities, which will save a significant amount of money in energy savings as well as reduced maintenance time/labor); energy-efficient lighting; upgraded boilers and chillers; and use of natural gas.
Speaker 3: Eric Friedman, State of Massachusetts, Operation
OSD is the state's central purchasing office; the division writes specifications,
establishes contracts, and is similar to GSA. The OSD seeks to incorporate
other criteria besides recycled content into its EPP efforts.
Mr. Friedman laid out the following six-step process for implementing an EPP Program:
- Define your universe. OSD established
a definition for its EPP effort which is very similar to the definition
in the Executive Order, with an emphasis on minimizing waste, optimizing
recycled content, and saving water.
- Start slowly. Identify a few
priorities; don't "go for broke"; take your time; do your
research first--the product needs to perform as well as be environmentally
preferable! Pick efforts with a good chance of success, i.e., pick the
low hanging fruit (e.g., require bids to be 2-sided copies, require
the purchase of Energy Star computers, use soy inks when possible).
Use tests or pilots as a way to start slowly and learn as you go. Mr.
Friedman suggested that agencies conduct annual $40,000 pilots to test
new products; the pilots encourage user participation at no risk and
provides an opportunity to evaluate a new product before putting out
- Learn from experience. Use recycled
product procurement network. Use feedback and flexibility to develop
trust and credibility and to modify the program when necessary. You
do not have to make a big leap to EPP. Give people choices, when appropriate
(e.g., dual contracts for oil, paint, cleaners); at the same time, do
not give people choices, when appropriate (e.g., recycled content paper,
Energy Star computers). Use regulatory vehicles without regulating (e.g.,
Executive Order linked to voluntary compliance).
- Include users. Develop a planning
process (procurement reform = diverse management teams). Allow for input
by users from the beginning of the project. Be flexible when writing
specs. Don't force participation. Lastly, give and ye shall receive.
- Rely on others' expertise. Take
advantage of environmental agencies, research labs, vendors, etc.
- Market and reward. Let people know what you're doing. Educate and inform through fact sheets, guide to EPP, vendor fairs. Use higher ups (e.g., letters from Secretaries). Track your efforts. Reward participation through an awards program. Work toward institutionalization.
Speaker 4: Kelly Luck, Minnesota Office of Environmental
Ms. Luck's office tends to focus on solid waste issues; committed to pollution
prevention, recycled content, and EPP.
Minnesota Office of Environmental Affairs conducted a cleaners project. The participants included the Department of Administration, which oversees all state purchasing contracts; a Cleaning Supplies Users Group, which was formed by the Administration to gain input into the contract process consisting of custodial and procurement staff from various state agencies; an environmental committee, formed to develop criteria and evaluate products' environmental impact; and a performance committee, formed to develop criteria and evaluate product efficacy.
The work group sought input from the users of cleaners, reviewed criteria set by national pioneers, and consulted with MN experts for local perspective. The work group conducted a pilot project with a non-profit and found that the environmentally preferable products were price competitive, caused fewer health problems (i.e., no dizziness).
Project goals included the following:
- Reduce use of hazardous chemicals
- Improve worker's environment
- Encourage local governments to purchase "green" cleaners available on state contract
- Evaluate other contracts for similar opportunities
- Spread word to school districts and businesses
Project challenges include the
complexity of the issues involved as both environmental criteria alternative
cleaners continue to evolve. In addition, lack of consistent product information
and continuing skepticism about "green" products provide additional
Speaker 5: Karl Weiss, Department of Defense
Mr. Weiss joined the Department of Defense in 1990 as a Contract Specialist
with the Defense Fuel Supply Center. In 1995, implementation of Executive
Order 12873 was added to his duties, making him responsible for oversight
of DoD's recycling, affirmative procurement, and environmentally preferable
purchasing programs. He represents Environmental Security on Integrated
Process Teams that advise major weapons systems acquisition programs.
Dealing with acquisition reform as part of goal to modernize force and reduce life cycle costs.
Strategies being pursued by DOD to support these goals include:
- Force modernization-- streamline acquisitions management, educate workforce, reform specs, evaluate cost as independent variable, single process initiative.
- Reduce life cycle costs-- reduce operations costs.
- Incorporated environmental safety and health considerations into DOD directive 5000.1 and 5000.2-R. Streamlining mandatory guidance to absolute minimum and have established electronic deskbook to capture lessons learned. Have to perform environment, safety and health evaluation, and maintain updated evaluation.
- Working to get environmental modules in courses at the Defense Acquisition University. Also working on military specs for toxic release inventory (TRI) management to focus on high payoff actions relative to TRI.
- Operations costs dominate life cycle costs in weapons systems. New system acquisition rates: not buying that many new weapons systems. This means the rate of change to EPP systems will not be that fast. So, need to target existing systems to reduce their environmental impact by extending the life of existing systems and of new systems acquired.
- Reduce operations and support costs through business process improvements (e.g. hazmat pharmacy), environmentally preferable technology insertion (e.g., high pressure water stripping for aircraft=savings, improved performance, environmental benefits).
DOD plans to introduce EPP into other procurement processes.
Questions & Answers:
Q: What are some ways to provide incentives, rewards?
A: (Friedman) Massachusetts has an awards program.
A: (Bravo) USPS has a bonus program for those who save money.
A: (Jones, moderator) Military allowed to use 50% of proceeds from recycling towards activities to increase morale, provide recreation, etc. At discretion of base commander. GSA's recycling program returns 100% of money to participating agency.
Q: How did you decide what products to focus on?
A: (Friedman) Massachusetts picked things they knew they should be doing, such as Energy Star computers; also, things they buy a lot of, such as cleaners.
A: (Jones) Pareto analysis done at DLA to select the biggest sale items in order to reach the largest consumer base.
Q: Do you specify certain products?
A: (Luck) Cost, performance, environmental attributes are taken into account.
A: (Friedman) If costs are close, mandate the environmentally preferable product; evaluation based on points
A: (Jones) Don't proceed based on initial cost, use the life cycle cost or total cost of the product.
Q: How do you calculate life cycle cost?
A: (Jones) DLA is beginning to look at life cycle cost, from procurement to disposal. It is a number crunching exercise. DLA is developing an algorithm, which will take approx. another year to complete.
Q: Who should do the life cycle cost analysis?
A: (Jones) If you purchase through DLA or GSA, the federal government will usually do it (for other feds). Looking for third party certifiers or industry to provide information, to marry what DLA and GSA are doing with industry information.
A: (Weiss) DOD found it had dozens of methodologies under development.
A group evaluated all methodologies and rated them. Three stood out.