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Greener Products

Institutional/Professional Purchaser

Making a Difference for Your Organization, Public Health, and the Environment

By purchasing greener products, you will be joining many organizations across the United States that are helping improve public health and the environment. By leveraging your buying power, you will help stimulate market demand for greener products and services. In many cases, institutional purchasers can bring down the cost of purchasing greener products due to the scale of their purchasing.

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Benefits

Organizations that purchase greener products experience a range of benefits:

  • Improved ability to meet environmental goals
  • Improved worker safety and health
  • Reduced liabilities
  • Reduced health and disposal costs
  • Increased availability of environmentally preferable products in the marketplace

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A Life-Cycle Approach

Institutional buyers should consider the full array of public health and environmental impacts associated with their products and their supply chain. These include toxic exposures, air pollution, water pollution, climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, natural resource use (e.g., energy, water, materials), waste disposal, and ecosystem damages. To do this, institutional purchasers must consider the public health and environmental impacts over the entire life cycle of a product: from sourcing of raw materials, to manufacturing, packaging, transportation, distribution, retailing, use of the product, and management of it when it is no longer needed (through reuse, repair, recycling, or safe disposal). Different product categories have different public health or environmental "hotspots" of concern. For example, formulated products, such as those used in cleaning and personal care, have a high potential for direct human and environmental exposures, hence the toxicity of the formulated product is of paramount importance. Alternatively, water usage may be the primary concern for lavatory fittings. In these cases, standards that focus on the hotspots of concern may be most appropriate.

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Eco-Labels and Standards

Introduction to Eco-Labels and Standards

  • Energy Star EPEAT
  • U.S. EPA Design for the Environment WaterSense
  • SmartWay Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
  • Green Power Partnership Comprehensive Procurement Guideline
  • Federal Electronics Challenge Responsible Appliance Disposal Program
  • Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program Pesticides Storage and Disposal
  • Pesticides Product Labels GreenScapes
  • Green Chill Automobile and Product Stewardship

Scroll through these EPA programs and several standards that EPA helped develop and manage. Click on the logos for more information, and links to greener products and product comparisons.

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Environmental Claims

Institutional purchasers should be careful when considering environmental claims about products. Not all greener product claims can be trusted Exit EPA Disclaimer. Visit the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) website for its current "Green Guides". Note that the "Green Guides" are currently being revised and updated.

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Other EPA Initiatives

Please also see the following EPA websites and the Related Links for additional information about more environmentally sustainable products.

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Non–EPA Resources

The Related Links section of this website includes a wide range of other greener product resources including many not developed by EPA.

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