United States
Environmental Protection
Solid Waste and
Emergency Response
December 1990
Procurement  Guidelines
for  Government  Agencies
To foster markets for recovered materials and reduce the amount of solid
waste requiring disposal, consumers, including corporations and govern-
ment agencies, need to buy products made from recovered materials.
Such a commitment is an important step in sending a message to industry
that markets for recovered materials exist. The Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has issued "procurement guidelines" requiring government
agencies to buy products made with recovered materials. The guidelines
provide recommendations for implementing certain requirements of Sec-
tion 6002 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

To date, EPA has published five guidelines, designating the following spe-
cific items containing recovered materials for procurement by government

  Paper and paper products.
  Lubricating oils,
  Retreaded tires.
  Building insulation products, and
  Cement and concrete containing fly ash.

Once EPA issues a procurement guideline designating a specific item, pro-
curing agencies have one year to meet the guideline's requirements.
  Procurement Guideline for Paper and Paper Products, 40
  CFR Part 250, 53 FR 23546 (June 22, 1988)

  Procurement Guideline for Lubricating Oils Containing
  Refined Oil, 40 CFR Part 252, 53 FR 24699 (June 30, 1988)

  Procurement Guideline for Retread Tires, 40 CFR Part 253,
  53 FR 46558 (November 17, 1988)

  Procurement Guideline for Building Insulation Products
  Containing Recovered Materials, 40 CFR Part 248, 54 FR
  7328 (February 17, 1989)

  Procurement Guideline for Cement and Concrete
  Containing Fly Ash, 40 CFR Part 249, 48 FR 4230
  (January 28, 1983)
                                               Printed on Recycled Paper

To Whom Do the
Guidelines Apply?
                           RCRA defines procuring agencies to include federal, state, and local agen-
                           cies using appropriated federal funds, and their contractors. The require-
                           ments of a particular guideline apply only if the procuring agency
                           purchases more tha'n $10,000 a year worth of the guideline item. For
                           example, if a county government agency spends more than $10,000 a year
                           on paper, and part pf that money is from appropriated federal funds, then
                           the county government is a "procuring agency" for paper and must follow
                           the procurement guideline for paper and paper products.
                           Purchases unrelated or incidental to the purpose of federal funding are not
                           subject to RCRA Section 6002. Thus, they are not subject to the procure-
                           ment guidelines. However, when it is not apparent whether a purchase is
                           subject to RCRA, EPA'encourages procuring agencies to follow the guide-
                           lines to help expand markets for products made  of recovered materials.
What Are
the RCRA Section
6002 Requirements?
                           Review and Revise Specifications
                           RCRA requires procuring agencies to review their specifications for the
                           designated items and to revise them to allow procurement of products
                           containing recovered material. Procuring agencies should eliminate
                           requirements that specifically exclude the use of recovered materials. In
                           addition, procuring agencies should revise performance standards that in
                           effect exclude items containing recovered materials and that are more
                           stringent than necessary to satisfy the agency's needs.

                           For example, if an agency has a specification that precludes the use of
                           retreaded tires, it must be replaced, preferably with a performance stan-
                           dard that specifies Relevant performance factors for tires, such as tread
                           wear, burst strength, and stopping distance.
                           Establish an Affirmative Procurement Program
                           Each procurement guideline contains EPA's recommendations for estab-
                           lishing an effective affirmative procurement program. However, each pro-
                           curing agency may
design its own program, so long as it meets the RCRA
                           All affirmative procurement programs must have four components:

                           1.  a preference program,
                           2.  a promotion program,
                           3.  procedures for obtaining and verifying estimates and certifications of
                              the content of recovered materials, and
                           4.  annual review and monitoring.
                             Preference Program
                           The statute provides three options for a preference program:

                           • Minimum-content standards, which identify the minimum content of
                             recovered materials that an item should contain; procuring agencies
                             may include thesfe standards in their specifications for purchasing an
                             item;          I

•  Case-by-case procurement, open competition between products made of
   virgin materials and products made of recovered materials; procuring
   agencies must exercise a preference for the latter;  or

•  Other, any approach which is substantially equivalent to the above

The procurement guidelines recommend that agencies consider the fol-
lowing approaches for the five items designated thus far:

Paper and paper products: Specific minimum-content standards for paper
and paper products. For newsprint, tissue packaging, and paperboard cate-
gories, postconsumer minimum-content standards are recommended. For
printing and writing papers,  "wastepaper" minimum content standards are
recommended. ("Wastepaper" includes both postconsumer materials and
certain preconsumer wastes.)

Lubricating oils: Minimum re-refined oil content standards for engine
lubricating oils, hydraulic fluids, and gear oils at no lower than 25 percent
of the basestock.

Retreaded tires: Case-by-case procurement programs consisting of two
components—(1) procurement of retreading services for the agencies'
used tire casings, and (2) procurement of replacement tires through com-
petition among vendors of new and retreaded tires. If an agency is unable
to carry out one component  of the guideline—for example, because of
unavailability—then it should implement the  other component and con-
tinue to attempt to carry out the unrealized component.

Building insulation: Specific  minimum-content standards for insulation
materials commercially available with recovered materials, such as cellu-
lose, perlite composite board, most of the plastic foams and boards, and
rock wool. When purchasing insulation  materials for  which minimum-con-
tent standards have not been established (e.g., fiberglass and polystyrene
rigid foam), agencies should use case-by-case procurement.

Cement and concrete containing fly ash: Inclusion of provisions in all con-
struction contracts to allow for the use of cement or concrete  containing
fly ash.
   Promotion Program
Agencies must actively promote their desire to buy recycled products. For
example, they may choose to include explicit statements in solicitations
for bids and proposals, discuss their commitment to recycling at prebid-
ders' conferences, issue general announcements about their procurement
preferences, and print a recycling statement or logo on official documents.
   Estimation and Certification
Vendors must estimate the percentage of and certify the actual content of
recovered material in their products. Such estimates and certifications are
most easily expressed as a percentage of total content.

Vendors must certify the percentage of recovered material actually used in
performance of the contract and must make their own arrangements for
obtaining this information from the manufacturer. Vendors usually discuss
product specifications  and availability with manufacturers before submit-
ting a bid; information for certification can be obtained at that time. The
certification then becomes part of the contract awarded to the successful

                           I. Annual Review and Monitoring  |

                           During the year, procuring agencies should review the range of estimates
                           and certifications tjiey received to determine whether they are using the
                           highest percentage of recovered materials.

                           While the EPA guidelines recommend minimum-content standards, pro-
                           curing agencies should adjust the standards when market conditions war-
                           rant a change. Fortexample, if the data suggest that a sufficient number of
                           bids would have been submitted in response to higher standards, then
                           agencies should consider raising their minimum-content standards. Con-
                           versely, if there is la lack of competition, agencies may consider lowering
                           their standards.  I
When May an
Agency Purchase
Items Not Con-
taining Recovery
Procuring agencies may choose not to purchase a guideline item con-
taining recovered rjnaterials if:

• a guideline item's price is unreasonable;
• applying minimum-content standards results in inadequate competition;
• obtaining designated items results in unusual and unreasonable delays;
  or             j
• guideline items do not meet  all reasonable performance specifications.

The word "reasonable" is key to the above conditions. A procuring agency
cannot exclude guideline items based on unreasonable needs. For
example, recycled paper cannot be excluded based on a brightness speci-
fication that is higher than needed.
How Are the Guide-
lines Enforced?
                           Anyone who is injured by the failure of an agency to carry out the law
                           may take civil action, either through that agency's appeal procedures, the
                           General Accounting Office's appeal procedures, or the federal courts.
                           There are no provisions in RCRA for federal enforcement of the guidelines.
How Is EPA Helping
to Implement the
                           EPA has established several mechanisms for assisting federal and non-fed-
                           eral agencies in seating up programs and for helping vendors market their
                           recovered materials to procuring agencies. These include a telephone hot-
                           line and frequentl^ updated lists of manufacturers and vendors of products
                           designated in the guidelines.

                           Copies of the guidelines listed in the box on the front cover, lists of manu-
                           facturers and vendors, and information on purchasing guideline items can
                           be obtained from the  procurement hotline by calling (703)
                           941-4452.       '