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Integrating Green Purchasing Into Your Environmental Management System (EMS) - Section 3: Background Information

As published by the EPA in April 2005.

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This report was developed by the EPA's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Team in response to requests from, and in partnership with, stakeholders, including EPA's Federal Facilities Enforcement Office, Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation, Design for the Environment (DfE) Program, the White House Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, and several Federal facilities. The report is informed by information from multiple interviews with representatives of Federal facilities whose staff incorporated green purchasing into the elements of their EMS. The Acknowledgements page provides a list of those individuals whose input, knowledge and experience contributed to the value of this report.


Definitions http://ceq.eh.doe.gov/nepa/regs/eos/eo13148.html Exit Disclaimer

Affirmative Procurement A program to increase green purchasing activities in Federal agencies. AP Programs originally focused on the purchase of products manufactured from recovered/recycled materials; however, AP concepts have expanded to include other environmental considerations.

Biobased product A commercial or industrial product (other than food or feed) that uses biological products or renewable domestic agricultural (plant, animal, and marine) or forestry materials.

Environmentally Preferable 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. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance, or disposal of the product or service.


AFVAlternate Fuel Vehicle
ARSAgricultural Research Service
CPGComprehensive Procurement Guidelines
DODDepartment of Defense
DOIDepartment of the Interior
EMSEnvironmental Management Systems
EOExecutive Order
EPAEnvironmental Protection Agency
ESCEnvironmental Science Center
EPPEnvironmentally Preferable Purchasing
FARFederal Acquisition Regulation
FEMPFederal Energy Management Program
FWSFish and Wildlife Service
GSAGeneral Services Administration
ISOInternational Organization for Standardization
JWODJavits Wagner O'Day Act
OFPPOffice of Federal Procurement Policy
OFEEOffice of the Federal Environmental Executive
NASANational Aeronautics and Space Administration
NPSNational Park Service
RCRAResource Conservation and Recovery Act
RMANRecovered Material Advisory Notice
USDAU.S. Department of Agriculture
USPSU.S. Postal Service

What Is Green Purchasing?

Green Purchasing refers to the practice of preventing waste and pollution by considering environmental impacts, along with price, performance, and other traditional selection factors, when making purchasing decisions. Green purchasing often is included within the definition of pollution prevention, since the selection and use of green products can reduce both the quantity and toxicity of waste streams. All Federal procurement officials are required by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Executive Order (EO)13101, Greening the Government through Waste Prevention, Recycling and Federal Acquisition, to assess and give preference to green products and services. Part 23 of the FAR addresses acquisition policies and procedures for protecting and improving the environment by controlling pollution, managing energy and water use in government facilities efficiently, using renewable energy and renewable energy technologies, and acquiring energy- and water-efficient products and services, environmentally preferable products, and products that use recovered materials.48

EO 13101 requires agencies to consider the following factors in acquisition planning for all procurements and in the evaluation and award of contracts: “elimination of virgin material requirements; use of biobased products; use of recovered materials; reuse of product; life cycle cost; recyclability; use of environmentally preferable products; waste prevention (including toxicity reduction or elimination); and ultimate disposal.”49

Federal green purchasing preference programs are designed to provide agencies with reliable product information to support and encourage their efforts to purchase green products and services. Currently, Federal green purchasing preference programs include:

Federal Green Purchasing Program Requirements

To provide additional direction for purchasing decisions, EPA has developed guidance for Green Purchasing.50 Section 503 (c) of EO 13101 directs Executive agencies to “use the principles and concepts in the EPA Guidance on Acquisition of Environmentally Preferable Products and Services . . . in identifying and purchasing environmentally preferable products and services” and to “modify their procurement programs as appropriate.”51 In addition, Section 23.704 of the FAR requires agencies to “affirmatively implement” the objective of “obtaining products and services considered to be environmentally preferable (based on EPA-issued guidance).” EPA's guiding principles are:


Product CategoryLegal and Other Requirements

Recycled Content


Section 6002 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); EO 13101, Greening the Government through Waste Prevention, Recycling and Federal Acquisition; Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Parts 7, 11, 23.

Environmentally Preferable http://www.epa.gov/epp/

EO 13101, Greening the Government through Waste Prevention, Recycling and Federal Acquisition; FAR, Parts 7, 11, 23.

Energy efficient http://www.energystar.gov/


EO 13123, Greening the Government through Efficient Energy Management; Federal Acquisition; Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), Part 23; EO 13221, Energy Efficient Standby Power Devices

Biobased www.biobased.oce.usda.gov/fb4p/

Section 9002 of the 2002 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act; EO 13101, Greening the Government through Waste Prevention, Recycling and Federal Acquisition

Alternative fuels
Fuel efficiency



Section 303 of The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct); Executive Order 13149, Greening the Government through Federal Fleet and Transportation Efficiency

Non-ozone depleting substances http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/general/index.html

Section 613 of the Clean Air Act

Green Purchasing Training Resources

OFEE offers green purchasing training to contracting, environmental, and facilities staff. The training primarily addresses purchasing of recycled content, biobased, and environmentally preferable products and also touches on purchasing of energy efficient products. It discusses the legal framework underlying the green purchasing programs, the pertinent Federal Acquisition Regulation provisions, the common myths about green purchasing, the specifics of the green purchasing programs, Federal facility green purchasing examples, and product sources, including mandatory sources.

OFEE and the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (USACHPPM) developed a green purchasing train-the-trainer program, which has been presented to more than 30 Federal agency environmental and procurement staff. The program consists of a PowerPoint presentation and an accompanying script. In addition to addressing the units discussed in OFEE's green purchasing training, it discusses the types of training appropriate for different audiences, compliance, program implementation, and goals and metrics.

The Defense Logistics Agency offers Buying Green: A Multi Functional Approach to Pollution Prevention. To order the manual or obtain more information on training call (614)692-5969, 1-800-458-7903, or (269) 961-7046 or fax (269) 961-7055.

What is Green Purchasing, Anyway?” is an online training course providing an introduction to the Federal green purchasing program for contracting personnel, purchase card holders, facility and fleet managers. The course is organized into modules and provides examples, resources, and reference web sites. Course duration ranges from 1 ½ hours for purchase card holders to approximately 2 ½ hours for contracting officers and contracting officer representatives. Completion of the course satisfies the Executive Order 13101 requirement that agencies provide training to contracting and program personnel. It is available on the Office of Personnel Management's Gov Online Learning Center located at www.golearn.gov.

To register for the Green purchasing course, log on with your email and password. Next, click on the Full Catalog button on the top navigation bar. Click on the Free Catalog category and select Legislatively Mandated and Agency Required Topics. Choose “What is Green Purchasing, Anyway?” (Course ID OPM008) by clicking on its title.

Please contact Dana Arnold at arnold.dana@ofee.gov if you would like to arrange for a green purchasing or train-the-trainer presentation.

For additional green purchasing training resources visit http://www.ofee.gov/

Green Purchasing Resources

48Access the full text of the Federal Acquisition Regulation at http://www.arnet.gov/far/ Exit Disclaimer

49EO 13101, Section 401

50Visit www.epa.gov/oppt/epp

51Access the text of Executive Order 13101 and the FAR at http://www.epa.gov/epp/pubs/about/about.htm

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