EPA has extensive programs and information to help you supply products that are more energy efficient, made with fewer toxic components, optimize material use and are, where possible, recyclable.
EPA helps retailers discern which product standards and labels they should seek when procuring goods and services to sell to their commercial and individual customers. Currently, EPA develops its own standards and labels for certain products, such as the Energy Star, WaterSense, Design for Environment labels. In other cases, EPA participates in the development of consensus-based standards, that are accredited by the American National Standards Institute.
- Greening Suppliers
- Packaging of products
- Resources to help you purchase more environmentally friendly products
- Selling/Buying Green Products
- Transporting your products
Retailers are beginning to look to their supply chains to make environmental improvements, as whole product lifecycle considerations are generating more attention.
- Green Suppliers Network: A collaborative venture among industry, the EPA and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), a leading provider of technical assistance to manufacturers. Green Suppliers Network works with large manufacturers to engage their small and medium-sized suppliers in low-cost technical reviews that focus on process improvement and waste minimization. EPA provides program support and funding.
- The Toxic Releases Query Form allows you to retrieve data from the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) database in Envirofacts. Your query returns facility information and chemical reports, which tabulate air emissions, surface water discharges, releases to land, underground injections, and transfers to off-site locations. Use this information to identify green suppliers.
- EPA Partnership Programs: Businesses have a wide variety of opportunities to practice environmental stewardship. Review the partner companies under the various US partnership programs to find suppliers committed to environmental stewardship.
Retailers have the ability to reduce the environmental impacts of their packaging by:
- Evaluating the need for the package
- Using less material (aka. source reduction). Designing a package so that a minimum amount of material fulfills the functional requirements offers cascading environmental benefits. By reducing the quantity of raw materials used in the packaging, you can minimize its environmental and economic footprint.
- Increasing the recycled content of the packaging materials.
- Eliminating toxic constituents. Ensure that all the additives, adhesives, coatings, and inks that get added to the package are safe for human health and the environment.
- Use packaging materials that can be recycled or composted once it has served its original purpose. Design your package so all components can be easily taken apart and recovered.
- Support materials recovery and recycling. Educate your consumers on what they can do with your package once they no longer need it.
Learn more about innovative approaches companies have taken to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging:
- Albertson’s switch to recyclable coated boxes (PDF) (2 pp, 626K, About PDF)
- Rocky Mountain Recycling: Works with companies to recycle plastic film and wrap that would otherwise be trashed.
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition , supported by EPA, also provides information and guidance on reducing environmental impacts of packaging.
- Webinar: Green Consumers and Green Stores: A look at Green Consumer Behavior and How Stores Have Been Growing Greener
- Database of Environmental Information for Products and Services: A tool to make it easier to purchase products and services with reduced environmental impacts. Environmental information on over 600 products and services is included in this database.
- Information for vendors
- Buy Recycled products: Buying recycled means purchasing products made with recovered materials. A necessary precedent to buying recycled is that manufacturers purchase recovered materials and use them in lieu of virgin materials in the manufacture of new products. WasteWise partners commit to increasing overall recycled content in the products they purchase.
- Buy Safer Chemical Products: The Design for the Environment (DfE) program allows use of its logo on products that are made of safer chemicals. When you see the DfE logo on a product, it means that the DfE scientific review team has screened each ingredient for potential human health and environmental effects and that the product contains only those ingredients that pose the least concern among chemicals in their class.
- Green Electronics Made Easy :resources to help small business register products, promote EPEAT registered products, or use EPEAT to make environmentally preferable purchasing decisions.
- Business Calculators: quantify the environmental benefits of selling products and providing services (such as product take-back):
- Recycled Content (ReCon) Tool: estimate life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy impacts from purchasing and/or manufacturing materials with varying degrees of post-consumer recycled content.
- Electronics Environmental Benefits Calculator :calculate the environmental benefits achieved by purchasing EPEAT :registered electronic products.
- Energy Star Savings calculators
- Durable Goods Calculator (DGC): gain a better understanding of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission implications of various disposal methods for durable goods.
- Smartway calculator: compare the costs and estimate the fuel savings associated with various efficiency technologies.
- Household Products Database: Health and safety information on household products.
- Tools to Evaluate Chemical Ingredients in Products: The tools in the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council's Retail Portal enable retailers to evaluate chemicals or chemical-containing products for their potential human health and environmental impacts and identify chemicals or materials that are regulated or are of concern and not yet regulated.
- The EPA Greener Products Portal is designed to help the user navigate the increasingly important and complex world of greener products. It allows users to search for EPA programs related to greener products based on the type of user and their specific product interests. It also links to additional greener products information from EPA and other sources.
- Smartway Transport: an innovative collaboration between EPA and the freight sector designed to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions, and improve energy security