Conclusion Assessing Governments Green Procurement Efforts

This chapter has considered green procurement as a policy tool for meeting global environmental challenges. Using examples from the U.S. federal and subnational governments, the chapter demonstrates that there is cause for both concern and optimism regarding green procurement. On the one hand, there have been numerous laws and orders promoting green procurement, but efforts to harness the purchasing power of the federal government to create and support green markets have been less than successful. Part of the reason for this is the lackluster manner in which EPA has gone about promoting green procurement. In all fairness to the overly stressed agency, this may be more a capacity issue than a commitment problem. Part of the problem is also the chicken-and-egg dilemma mentioned earlier: to purchase green products they must be cost and performance competitive, but for them to become cost and performance competitive a strong private sector market first needs to be developed. While there was at least lip service paid under the National Performance Review years of the Clinton Administration, efforts under the Bush Administration have been uninspiring.

On the other hand, things at the state and local levels are not so grim. As demonstrated, several states and localities have made substantial progress in green procurement. Led by Santa Monica, King County, Seattle, Minnesota, and Massachusetts, state and local governments have advanced knowledge of green procurement and the characteristics that make these programs successful. A spirit of cooperation is also evident among subnational governments. Collective efforts to devise uniform product specifications and to harness the power of government purchasing through cooperative purchasing programs underscore the seriousness and intensity of effort shared by many state and local governments. This would seem to lend credence to Bergeson's [40] observation that "state and local initiatives will continue to eclipse federal procurement initiatives." Perhaps these efforts will allow green procurement to become more fully integrated into government's procurement function. If so, then Eun-Sook Goidel's observation as director of the EPA's EPP program may prove to be prescient: "In 5-10 years this whole concept [green procurement] will become yet another part of what people do on an everyday basis as part of their decision making process" [41]. In other words, the distinction between "traditional procurement" and "green procurement" could one day disappear.

Appendix A Example Green Procurement Policy

A Policy establishing procedures and programs to encourage and increase the procurement of recycled and other environmentally preferable products by (City) agencies and contractors Purpose

This policy shall be known as the "(City) Environmentally Preferable Procurement Policy." Its purpose is to support markets for recycled and other environmentally preferable products by encouraging (City) agencies and contractors to buy such products whenever practicable Definitions

The following terms shall have the assigned definitions for all purposes under this policy:

A. "Agency" means. [insert definition for City agency]

Appendix A Example Green Procurement Policy (Continued)

B. "Compost Products" means mulch, soil amendments, ground cover, or other landscaping material derived from the biological or mechanical conversion of cellulose-containing waste materials

C. "Environmentally preferable products" means products that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance, or disposal of the product

D. "Post-consumer recycled material" means only those products generated by a business or consumer which have served their intended end uses, and which have been separated or diverted from the solid waste stream for the purposes of collection, recycling, and disposition

E. "Practicable" means sufficient in performance and available at a reasonable price. Final determination of the practicability of any given product must lie with the users of the product, since it is they who understand their performance and budgetary requirements. Evaluation should consider life-cycle and replacement costs

F. "Price Preference" means a percentage by which offered prices for recycled products are reduced for purposes of bid evaluation. For example, under a 10% price-preference, if a bid of $1.00 per unit is received for a recycled product meeting specifications, the bid price will be reduced by $0.10 (10%) and evaluated as though it had been $0.90. If this bid results in a contract award, the price actually contracted will be the bid price of $1.00 per unit

G. "Recyclable product" means a product which, after its intended end use, can demonstrably be diverted from (City)'s solid waste stream for use as a raw material in the manufacture of another product

H. "Recycled material" means material and byproducts that have been recovered or diverted from solid waste and that can be utilized in place of raw or virgin material in manufacturing a product. It is derived from post-consumer recycled material, manufacturing waste, industrial scrap, agricultural waste, and other waste material, but does not include material or byproducts generated from, and commonly reused within, an original manufacturing process

I. "Recycled product" means a product containing recycled material Responsibilities of (Lead) Agency

The (Lead) Agency shall:

A. Develop and maintain information about environmentally preferable products and recycled products containing the maximum practicable amount of recycled materials, to be purchased by agencies whenever possible. Initially, these shall include the products designated in section five of this policy. The (Lead) agency may modify this list as needed;

B. Inform agencies of their responsibilities under this policy and provide implementation assistance;

C. Disseminate information on recycled and environmentally preferable product procurement opportunities, specifications, and performance, to agencies;

D. Communicate with agencies to review policy requirements and new procurement opportunities, and to monitor the status of policy implementation product research results;

Appendix A Example Green Procurement Policy (Continued)

E. Publicize the progress of policy impIementation;and

F. Submit an annual report to the (City) Council reflecting the implementation status of the procurement program, including:

1. A compilation of procurement data collected from all agencies and other parties charged with implementation responsibility under this policy;

2. An account of the current status of product evaluations conducted by agencies;

3. An assessment of procurement program effectiveness, an evaluation of program goals, and projections of future procurement opportunities;and

4. Recommendations for changes in procurement policy Responsibilities of all (City) Agencies

Each (City) Agency shall:

A. Evaluate each recycled or environmentally preferable product designated by the (lead) agency to determine the extent to which the product may be practicably used by the agency and its contractors;

B. Purchase recycled products with the maximum amount of recycled material practicable;

C. Ensure that contracts issued by the agency require recycled and environmentally preferable products wherever practicable

D. Ensure that contracts issued by the agency for recycled products require the maximum practicable amount of recycled material and that contractors provide certification of this content and report amounts used;

E. Ensure that all printing by (City) agencies uses recycled paper and bears the chasing arrow logo or other imprint identifying it as such;

F. Use both sides of paper sheets whenever practicable in printing and copying;

G. Ensure that requests for bids and proposals issued by (City) require that, whenever practicable, contractors and consultants use recycled paper and both sides of paper sheets;

H. Report the progress of policy implementation by the agency to the (Lead) agency, including the status of product evaluations conducted by the agency and types of environmentally preferable products purchased by the agency and its contractors; and

I. Report total purchases of environmentally preferable, recycled, and non-recycled products by the agency and its contractors annually to the (Lead) agency

Environmentally Preferable Products

A. Paper and paper products;

B. Compost products;

C. Horticultural mulch made with recycled land clearing and other wood debris;

D. Construction aggregates made with recycIed cement concrete, gIass, or asphaIt;

E. Cement and asphalt concrete containing glass cullet, recycled fiber or plastic, tire rubber, or fly ash;

F. Lubricating oil and hydraulic oil with re-refined oil content;

G. Antifreeze;

H. Recycled plastic products;

I. Remanufactured tires and products made from recycled tire rubber, including rubber mats and playfield surfaces;

Appendix A Example Green Procurement Policy (Continued)

J. insulation products;

L. Remanufactured laser printer toner cartridges;

M. Other products as designated by the (Lead) agency Exemptions

A. Nothing contained in this policy shall preclude user agencies from requiring recycled material content as a bid specification

B. Nothing in this policy shall be construed as requiring an agency or contractor to procure products that do not perform adequately for their intended use or are not available at a reasonable price in a reasonable period of time

Source: Model Recycled Product Procurement Policy for Environmentally Preferable Products. King County, Washington, Environmental Purchasing Program Implementation Guide (Revised: March, 1997). Available at (accessed July 16, 2003).

Appendix B Incorporating Green Language into Procurement Specifications

"Put it in writing"

Consider including environmental attributes as specifications in your bid solicitations or proposal requests. Here are some strategies other public agencies have used Avoid using language that prohibits the purchase of environmentally preferable products

Example: Avoid specifications that require new equipment so that vendors are able to offer remanufactured items, such as auto parts, office furniture, and toner cartridges. Require recycled content if adequate competition exists for a product that is readily available with recycled content

Example: Require 30% post-consumer recycled-content copy paper

If you are uncertain about the availability of a particular recycled-content product, you could instead give a preference to bids offering recycled content, or award additional points based on the level of recycled content offered in the bid or proposal

Example: You could award zero points for bids offering computer forms with no recycled content, five points for 10% recycled content, and 10 points for 30% recycled content

Eliminate over-specification without compromising performance. Allow alternatives that satisfy the end use. Specify product qualities that are critical to performance and leave other options open

Example: Avoid specifying clear plastic trash bags. Otherwise, you may eliminate recycled-content trash bags that are often darker or opaque in color, but perform just as well.

Include environmental criteria—such as post-consumer recycled content, mercury-free, or Energy Star® compliance—for the product you want to purchase Example: Specify the federal standard of 25% post-consumer recycled content in a solicitation for re-refined oil. Similar standards exist for most of the products listed in this Guide, and are ready for you to use in your bid solicitations

Appendix B Incorporating Green Language into Procurement Specifications (Continued)

Take into account the life-cycle costs of products, such as savings on maintenance, replacement, and disposal costs, which are not factored into the initial unit price

Example: Your evaluation criteria for bids offering plastic benches and tables could include price, durability, manufacture warranty, required maintenance, recycled content, testing of product samples, and references

If packaging or containers are necessary, specify types that are refillable, returnable, or recyclable. Otherwise, specify that no packaging or container be provided.

Require vendors to report your environmental purchases on a quarterly or annual basis so that your organization can track its progress, such as amount of recycled-content copy paper and file folders purchased

Source: The Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Guide. 2002. Produced by the state of Minnesota's Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board. The guide is Available at http:// The selection is from Section 2.3: Writing Specifications (see (accessed July 16, 2003).

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