What is Environmentally Preferable Purchasing or Green Procurement?

To protect our environment and our own health, it is important to consider how a product is made and what it’s made with. Buying “postconsumer” recycled content products supports our local curbside and drop-off recycling programs by creating markets for collected materials. Beyond recycled content, it is also important to look at other environmental attributes of the product, such as energy consumption, toxicity, air and water pollution impact, materials efficiency (such as packaging), and the disposal impact at the end of its useful life.

A number of local cities have adopted Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policies. For example:

Buy recycled office and printing paper

Office and printing paper — we all use it. But nine times out of ten, this paper isn’t made with recycled materials. By buying recycled paper, you not only save natural resources but you help support paper recycling markets.

For more information about recycled content and about choosing environmentally preferable paper, visit Conservatree — a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information about environmentally sound paper and helping market development.

Resources to help purchase recycled content products

Recycle Store

The Recycled Content Product Directory lists thousands of products containing recycled materials as well as information about the manufacturers, distributors and re-processors of these products.

What is Product Stewardship? (and why your business should support it)

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), or Product Stewardship, means those who design, produce, and sell a product take responsibility for all stages of the product’s life cycle, including after the product has served its original purpose.

Doing well by doing good

  • Design it green—Be a leader in innovation. Eliminate inefficiencies. Foster company pride and consumer loyalty.
  • Use nontoxic materials—Eliminate the health, safety and liability concerns that come with using hazardous materials.
  • Make it clean— Reduce operating costs by using manufacturing facilities and production methods that reduce waste, air and water pollution.
  • Encourage reuse—Reuse is the most efficient way for businesses to reduce solid waste, energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Conserve resources—Use recycled-content materials in products and packaging. Virgin materials carry a heavy environmental toll and are sometimes more expensive. And you’ll support the market for recycled materials.
  • Offer the product as a service—Consider leasing instead of selling your product. Many consumers, especially buyers for business and government, would prefer to lease rather than buy. Taking back your product at the end of the lease may give you a competitive edge.
  • Take it back!—Develop convenient take-back programs for your products at their end-of-life. Your customers will thank you and you’ll develop brand loyalty.

For more information, see California Product Stewardship Council’s Greening the Bottom Line brochure (PDF: 1.08 MB)).

The California Product Stewardship Council’s mission is to shift California’s product waste management system from one focused on government-funded and rate payer-financed waste diversion to one that relies on producer responsibility in order to reduce public costs and drive improvements in product design that promote environmental sustainability.