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Sustainable Marketplace: Greener Products and Services

About the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program

EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Program helps US federal government purchasers harness private sector innovation by utilizing marketplace standards and ecolabels to identify and procure environmentally preferable products and services.  In doing so, the program supports efficiency in federal operations by giving federal procurement officials a convenient and streamlined way to make sense of over 460 environmental performance standards and ecolabels currently in the global marketplace. EPP leverages the significant federal purchasing power to prevent pollution, realize lifecycle cost savings, and increase US industry competitiveness, in line with statutory and regulatory mandates and goals and federal obligations under both the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (Section 12d) and the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) (Section 6604).

The EPP program started in 1993 to meet the mandate given to EPA in the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA) to "identify opportunities to use federal procurement to encourage source reduction" (Pollution Prevention Act, §13103(b)(10)). The program also provides Recommendations of Specifications, Standards, and Ecolabels, helping federal agencies comply with Federal Acquisition Regulations Part 23.703, which states that agencies must "maximize the utilization of environmentally preferable products and services (based on EPA-issued guidance)." The Recommendations serve as this guidance.

Specifically, the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Program participates in consensus standards development to provide greater market clarity and definition around the manufacture and purchase of goods and services which are environmentally preferable and then supports the uptake of those standards in federal procurement.  In FY 17, the EPP Program issued Recommendations of Specifications, Standards, and Ecolabels based on learnings from a multi-year pilot that included independent assessment using stakeholder-developed guidelines. 

The EPP Program has launched and managed additional initiatives to help meet its objectives, including: EPEAT, the Federal Electronics Challenge, and the EPA Green Building Workgroup.

As a result of participating in the standards development process for the standards products must meet to become EPEAT-registered, and recommending the use of EPEAT in the electronics categories, the EPP Program has generated significant cost and environmental benefits to the Federal government. In 2018 alone, the federal government purchased nearly 7 million EPEAT-registered products, resulting in a cost savings to the federal government of around $182.5 million.

Federal purchasers leading by example influence what is available for other purchasers to buy as well.  According to the Green Electronics Council (GEC), over their lifetime, compared to products that do not meet EPEAT criteria, the 1.33 billion EPEAT-registered IT products purchased worldwide from 2006- 2018 will result in a reduction of 184 million metric tons of greenhouse gasses, equivalent to taking over 39 million average US passenger cars off the road for a year. They will also reduce over 830,000 metric tons of hazardous waste, equivalent to the weight of over 8,000 Boeing 757s, and will reduce over 208 million metric tons of primary materials, equivalent to the weight of over 2 million blue whales. Read more on GEC's webpage .Exit