United States
                           Environmental Protection
                                              March 1999
                           Issue 4
           March 1999
                                                              ENVIRONMENTALLY PREFERABLE PURCHASING
 • Are Biobased Products

 • Environmental
  Information to be
  Added to Supply

 • Pentagon Staff Gives
  Thumbs Up to EPP

 • Final Guidance to Result
  from New Executive
                           Japan—On  the  Forefront  of the

                           Green  Purchasing  Movement
                                                      Interest in environmental purchasing is not limit-
                                                      ed to the United States. Japans Green Purchasing
                                                      Network (GPN), organized in February 1996,
                                                   has grown from 73 charter organizations to more
                                                   than 1,300 members today. Although it is endorsed
                                                   by the Japanese government, GPN is composed of
                                                   and run by private sector companies and local gov-
                                                   ernment organizations.
                                                     GPNs members work through a democratic process
                                                   to develop environmentally preferable purchasing
                                                   guidelines for products, which it publishes in
                                                                             < Continued on Page 2 >
                           NACo  Kicks  Off Environmental
                           Purchasing  Project
      Anew campaign by the National
      Association of Counties (NACo)
      is making it easier for local gov-
ernments to purchase environmentally
preferable products. NACo is inviting
local governments to join its environ-
mental purchasing project,  which is
being sponsored by EPA's EPP Program.
The project assists counties in locating
and selecting cost-effective products and
services that emphasize environmental
attributes such as the following:
•  Reduced exposure to hazardous
•  Waste  reduction.
•  Energy efficiency.
•  Resource conservation.
  Many local governments
are already taking a lead-
ership role in green pur-
chasing, and this
program is intended to
build on those suc-
cesses. As part of its
campaign, NACo rec-
ommends the following
activities to  increase a  county's environ-
mental purchasing efforts:
•  Adopt a resolution  favoring environ-
   mentally preferable products.
•  Select a single product category or
   county department area in which
   to begin research and product
                < Continued on Page 9 >
                                Originally Printed with soy-based inks on 100 percent recycled paper containing 30 percent totally chlorine free (TCP) kenaf,
                                30 percent processed chlorine free (PCF) postconsumer waste (PCW), and 40 percent preconsumer recovered fiber.


Purchasing  In

       Beginning with this issue, the
       EPP Update will highlight a
       variety of different paper types
that EPA has determined to
have certain positive envi-
ronmental attributes.
Read below to find out
about the paper choice
for this issue—kenaf.
Look to future issues  of the
EPP Update to highlight additional
paper types.

  This issue of the EPP Update is printed
on Re:Vision 100 percent recycled paper
containing 30 percent kenaf and 30 per-
cent postconsumer fiber. The remaining
  40 percent is preconsumer recovered
   fiber. In addition, it is processed
    without any chlorine bleaching
       Kenaf is a new, annual row
      crop grown by farmers in the
     southeastern United States. As a
     new crop, kenaf offers farmers a
     low input, nonfood, and nonfeed
      cash crop that promotes crop
     rotation options. Kenaf's fibers
     can be used to produce a wide
     range of paper products, and it
       requires less energy and  fewer
        chemicals to convert to pulp.
           This product demonstrates
         the positive environmental
         attributes of kenaf fibers. The
         kenaf used to produce it was
        kenaf paper that was put
       through the same recycling
       processes as traditional wood-
based papers. •
< Continued from Page 1 >

Environmental Data Books. Currently,
GPN has established guidelines for five
products and is preparing guidelines for
an additional eight products.

GPN's Data Books
  GPNs Data Books compare specific
environmental data for products along
the environmental and performance
attributes it selects. Its paper Data Book,
for example, specifies environmental
attributes such as recycled content,
along with other criteria such as bright-
ness levels, for approximately 200
brand name office paper products. GPN
plans to publish Data Books for all of
the products for which it creates guide-
lines and update them annually. Data
Book information also is available on
the GPN Web site .
  The purpose of the Data Books is not
to recommend particular products.
Rather, the books provide the consumer
with a tool to compare and analyze
environmental data for every product.
GPN leaves the final purchasing deci-
sion up to the consumer.

GPN's Principles of Green
  GPN relies on several general princi-
ples to develop the product-specific
purchasing guidelines provided in the
Data Books.
•  Note the environmental Impact of a
   product at all stages of its life cycle.
   GPN suggests that consumers pur-
   chase a product only after consider-
   ing its cumulative environmental

    load, from processing of raw materials
    to its ultimate disposal.
•   Select products manufactured and
    distributed by corporations with an
    active Interest In environmental con-
    servation. GPN suggests that con-
    sumers look for businesses that adopt
    environmentally sound policies and
    systems, institute proper environmen-
    tal management and auditing, dis-
    close environmental information, and
    conform to environmental laws and
•   Evaluate products by collecting envi-
    ronmental Information on the prod-
    ucts, manufacturers, and distributors.
    GPN encourages consumers to gather
    environmental information from a
    wide range of sources,  including prod-
    uct labels,  information in catalogs and
    commercials, GPN purchasing and
    consumer guides, ecolabel certifica-
    tions, and third-party assessments.

Selecting Products
  In selecting products for which to cre-
ate guidelines, GPN periodically presents
its members with a questionnaire asking
them to nominate products. A product
task group then evaluates the nominated
products based on the product-specific
criteria developed using the general prin-
ciples listed above. GPN staff members
then contact all of the manufacturers to
obtain product information.
  The product task groups draft the prod-
uct guidelines  and the entire GPN mem-
bership  is provided an opportunity to
comment. The final guidelines do not
rank the products, but provide all of the
environmental information in a report
card-like format to help consumers make
an environmentally informed decision.

Successes and Next Steps
  To demonstrate the success of Japans
program, consider this fact—a recent sur-
vey conducted by GPN shows that more
than 40 percent of its membership con-
sults GPN Data Books before making pur-
chasing decisions and finds these
resources very useful. GPN has sold more
than 10,000 copies of the Data Books, and
receives from 60,000 to 100,000 hits to
its Web site each month.
  GPN, however, faces challenges similar
to those faced by other programs imple-
menting environmentally preferable pur-
chasing. In GPN's membership survey, a
frequently mentioned problem was that
companies and government bodies have
not established the appropriate systems
within their own organizations to facilitate
the purchase of environmentally preferable
products. GPN believes companywide task
forces that include environmental and
purchasing officials must be established in
order for environmental purchasing to
flourish. GPN plans to study cases in
which such a task force has been devel-
oped and present the results in an imple-
mentation guideline.
  For more information on GPN's efforts,
contact Holly Elwood of EPA at 202  260-
4362  or . •
Japan's Green
Network Product
- Copier and printing
- Copiers and printers.
- Personal Computers.
- Refrigerators.
- Sanitary paper.
- Air conditioners.*
- Automobiles.*
- Clothing.*
- Light bulbs.*
- Office furniture.*
- Stationary and office
- Televisions.*
- Washing machines.*

* Future guidelines

Environmentally  Preferable
Purchasing  in  Hospitals
                Iready in the business of safeguarding human health, many hos-
                pitals are now working to protect the environment too. Part of
                this effort involves a voluntary partnership between the
            American Hospital Association (AHA), its member hospitals, and
            EPA. Through this partnership, a work group will focus on environ-
            mentally preferable purchasing by investigating hospital products
           and services that are less harmful to the environment. The work
      group will then share its findings with all AHA hospitals through a seminar
series and other outreach activities.
  The environmentally preferable purchasing effort rests with one of 12 work groups ini-
  tiated under this partnership, which was created to accomplish the following:
   •  Eliminate nearly all hospital-generated mercury waste by 2005.
     Reduce total hospital waste volume 33 percent by 2005 and 50 percent by 2010.
     Target additional substances for pollution prevention and waste reduction projects.
 Accomplishing these goals will make a significant environmental impact, since
medical waste incinerators are the country's fourth largest source of mercury releases,
and hospitals generate 1 percent of the national municipal solid waste stream. An
important early step in the right direction, the adoption of environmentally prefer-
able purchasing principles will help ensure the partnerships success.
 For additional details, or to share information with the environmentally preferable
purchasing work group, please  contact Holly Elwood of EPA at 202 260-4362 or
. •
  Developing Consensus Standards
  for  Environmental  Purchasing
        On January 15, 1999, EPA
        issued a Federal Register
        notice on developing volun-
 tary consensus standards for environ-
 mentally preferable goods and
 services. EPA would like to hear from
 nongovernmental standard-setting
 organizations interested in developing
 environmental standards for use in
 federal procurement. The Agency also
 welcomes comments on the use of
 nongovernmental entities to support
                                  federal environmentally preferable
                                  purchasing efforts. Respondents can
                                  advise EPA of existing expertise on
                                  this subject matter and help identify
                                  key sources of environmental infor-
                                  mation. Comments must be post-
                                  marked by March 31, 1999.
                                   For a copy of the notice, visit the
                                  EPP Web site at  or contact Lena Ferris
                                  of EPA at 202 260-2237 or
                                  . •

Are  Biobased  Products
Environmentally  Preferable?
        Most of us have heard
        of ethanol, an alternative fuel
        made from corn, but what
about construction panels made from
rice or sorbents made from corn cobs?
All three are examples of currently
available biobased products. As a result
of Executive Order (E.G.) 13101, the
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
is identifying many more biobased
  In addition to promoting environmen-
tally preferable purchasing, the newly
signed E.O. encourages Executive agen-
cies to purchase biobased products if
they meet agency needs. The E.O.
defines a biobased product as "a com-
mercial or industrial product (other than
food or feed) that utilizes biological
products or renewable domestic agricul-
tural (plant, animal, or marine)  or
forestry materials."
  As a result, people are asking, "Are
biobased products environmentally
preferable?" Biobased products  are cer-
tainly a good starting point for environ-
mentally preferable purchasing
considerations. These prod-
ucts use renewable
resources, which
is one of the many positive environ-
mental attributes EPA identified in its
proposed EPP guidance. Many biobased
products also serve as less toxic alterna-
tives to other products. Thus, biobased
products have an advantage over many
other items.
  Environmentally  preferable purchas-
ing, however, emphasizes multiple envi-
ronmental attributes and lifecycle
considerations. Purchasers must remem-
ber, therefore, that  the full range of envi-
ronmental impacts  for any product,
including biobased products, should be
evaluated when making purchasing
decisions. It is possible, for example,
that the pesticides,  herbicides, and level
of water consumption necessary for
some biobased products might outweigh
the environmental benefits provided by
the products. Environmentally prefer-
able purchasing is a process; it is not an
outcome. Consequently, no product or
set of products, including those that are
biobased, will be environmentally
preferable in every situation.
  For more  information on biobased
products and their relationship to envi-
ronmentally  preferable purchasing, con-
 tact Eun-Sook Goidel of EPA at
    . •
Biobased Products
USDA is currently
working on a notice
of proposed rulemak-
ing regarding its list
of biobased  products.
The notice will pro-
pose several cate-
gories of products
and recommend
biobased levels for
each. A final rule will
be issued after a pub-
lic comment period.

 Environmental  Information  to  be
 Added  to Supply  Database
For more informa-
tion on the effort to
incorporate environ-
mental information in
FLIS, visit  or
contact Nancy Royal-
Jones  of DLA at
703 767-6256 or
George Baden of DLA
at 703 767-2617.
   In an effort to provide federal agencies
   with the information needed to make
   environmental purchasing decisions,
a special workgroup is incorporating
positive environmental attributes into the
Federal Logistics Information System
(FLIS), a database of
more than 7 million
supply items. The
multiagency Joint
Group on
Attributes  (JG-
EnvAtt), which was
established more
than a year ago by
the Defense Logistics
Agency (DLA),
"hopes to educate
consumers about the
specific environmen-
tal attributes of a
product, thereby
providing them with
additional  choices,"
said Nancy Royal-
Jones of the JG-
EnvAtt. "In keeping
with EPP guidelines,
products will be
assigned up to three
environmental attrib-
utes," added Royal-
 JG-EnvAtt has
established criteria
for selecting and
approving  environ-
mental attributes,
which will be  incorporated as two-digit
alphanumeric  codes in FLIS. The selec-
tion criteria for an attribute must be a
policy priority (i.e., part of federal direc-
tives or agency policies); definable  (i.e.,
have standardized definitions and
quantifiable criteria); and show a life
cycle cost savings. So far, JG-EnvAtt has
identified two environmental attributes
to be incorporated in the database—
energy efficiency, based on the
Department of Energy's "Buying Energy
                Efficient Products"
                , and recycled
                content,  based on
                EPAs Comprehensive
                In addition, JG-
                EnvAtt is currently
                evaluating attributes
                such as  the use of
                biobased materials,
                water conservation
                features, low volatile
                organic  compounds,
                high recycled-
                content percentages,
                and minimal green-
                house gas impacts
                for possible inclu-
                sion in FLIS.
                 Managed by the
                Defense Logistics
                Information Service,
                FLIS currently con-
                tains comprehensive
                data on  all of the
                supply items pur-
                chased by the feder-
                al government,
                including National
                Stock Numbers,
Commercial and Government Entity
(CAGE) codes, supply sources, item
manufacturers, part numbers, prices,
packaging and shipping information, and
disposal instructions. •


                Pentagon  Staff
            Gives  Thumbs  Up
         to  EPP  Training
A      recent, hands-on training session helped Pentagon staff learn
      about environmentally preferable purchasing and put their
      knowledge into action. The Department of Defense (DOD) and
  the EPP Program joined forces to present the training session and
    help advance DOD's environmental purchasing efforts.
       More than 30 building installation and maintenance staff, pro-
       curement officers, and contractors attended the 3-hour ses-
        sion. The first part of the training defined environmental
         purchasing and identified the importance of several envi-
           ronmental attributes such as recycled content, volatile
            organic compounds content, and other indoor air qual-
             ity concerns.
                  A group exercise fol-
                lowed the introduction
               and enabled trainees to
           put what they had learned
        into action. Participants evaluated
    similar products from three construc-
 tion product categories—paint, carpet,
  and ceiling tile. Each group of partici-
   pants selected the best product in a sin-
   gle product category after considering
   each products price, performance, and
  environmental attributes. After completing their first environmental
purchasing decisions, participants presented their choices and justifica-
tions at the end of the session.
  "This was a totally new concept to me," said John Black of the
Pentagon Building Management Office. "I like  the idea;  I can see the
importance and the logic behind it. It's challenging, but it will be easier
once industries begin providing the environmental information in an
easier-to-read format." •

"I like the idea;  I can see

the importance  and the

logic  behind it."

     —John Black, Pentagon Building
              Management Office

EPP  Web  •
Site  Gets
New  Look
and  Feel  I
     Vlfffl 1H HI WHflV/
      You might be sur-
      prised the next
      time you visit the
EPP Web site
< www. epa. gov/opptintr/
epp/>. Not only does it
have a great new look,
but several new features
also have been  added.
The Web site offers a
wealth of new informa-
tion, and you will still
find all the material from the previous site, including fact sheets,
case studies, success stories, and the interactive Cleaning Products
Pilot Project Web page , which allows a user to rank attributes in order of impor-
tance to find an appropriate cleaning product. You also will find the
following new interactive features:
  •  "Share Your Experience" allows users to describe an environ-
   mentally preferable case study or other relevant experiences.

  •  "Share Your Tools" allows visitors to recommend tools that
   have been helpful in implementing EPP practices. Both suppli-
   ers of environmentally preferable goods and those interested in
   purchasing them are encouraged to identify useful Web sites,
   guidances,  software programs, and other tools to add to EPAs

  • A group e-mail list has been established for those interested in
   receiving information on EPP pilot projects and announce-
   ments pertaining to the Web site. You can join the list via the
   EPP Web site or by e-mailing .

  • The bulletin board allows users to post environmental purchas-
   ing questions and comments.

  • The "Events"  page allows visitors to tell us  about upcoming
   events they wish to post on the EPP calendar.
      Visit us today and see what the excitement is all about!
  For further information, please contact Chris Kent of EPA at
202 260-3480. •

  Final Guidance  to  Result  from
  New Executive  Order
        Released September 14,  1998,
        Executive Order (E.G.) 13101,
        "Greening the Government
  Through Waste Prevention, Recycling,
  and Federal Acquisition," requires EPA
  to finalize its guidance on environ-
  mentally preferable purchasing. EPA
  first proposed its Guidance on  the
  Acquisition of Environmentally Preferable
  Products and Services in September
  1995, and since then has conducted
  pilot projects  and gathered comments
  in an effort to develop final guidance,
  expected to be released this spring.
   In addition to ordering final EPP
  guidance, E.G.  13101 calls for federal
  agencies to test and evaluate princi-
  ples and concepts of environmental
preferability through pilot projects
using all the options available to
them, including the use of the techni-
cal expertise of labeling, certification,
and standards developing organiza-
tions. The E.G. directs agencies to
focus their pilots around those prod-
uct and service categories that have
wide use within the federal govern-
ment. For a more detailed summary
of other elements of the E.G., readers
are directed to Closing the Circle
News, Special  Issue 1998, which
can be found at .
  For more information on the
final EPP guidance, contact
Eun-Sook Goidel of EPA at
. •
< NACo - Continued From Page 1 >

•   Integrate safer products through
    consultation with vendors, users,
    environmental and procurement
    staff, and other local governments.
  NACo launched its campaign in July
1998 during its annual conference in
Portland, Oregon. NACo has informa-
tional packets on the eight product cat-
egories listed to the right as well as a
project brochure, all of which are avail-
able free of charge. An environmental
purchasing "starter kit," currently
under development, is expected to be
available in April 1999. The kit will
include implementation strategies, a
model purchasing resolution, fact
sheets, and a resource list. The kit also
will highlight several counties' environ-
mental purchasing efforts.
  NACo wants others to know that
many products with environmental fea-
tures are available without compromis-
ing price or performance. According to
Randy Franke,  county commissioner
from Marion County, Oregon, and one
of the speakers at the NACo conference,
"By favoring products that are healthier
to those who work in our buildings,
that do not contribute to water pollu-
tion problems, and that use energy
more efficiently, we can protect the local
and global environment and set an
example for the rest of the community."
  Counties interested in joining NACo's
environmental purchasing project can
sign up using the Quick Registration
Form located at the NACo Web site at
, filling out the fax/mail-
back card in the project brochure,  or
contacting one of the individuals listed
below. Counties do not have to have a
demonstration project in mind in order
to sign up. To request a copy of the
brochure, or if you have questions
regarding NACo's efforts, please contact
Tony Hayes at 202 942-4247 or
, or Naomi
Friedman at 202 942-4262 or
. •
NACo's Product
- Automobile and
  fleet maintenance
  and alternative fuel
- Cleaners.
- Pesticides and herbi-
- Office supplies.
- Paint.
- Printing.
- Construction and
- Green buildings and
  energy efficiency.

                              Copying  Success
       Attributes Under
       Consideration for
       - Highly energy
       - Low emissions of
         dust and ozone.
       - Double-sided copy-
         ing (as a default to
         conserve paper).
       - Use of recycled
       - Recyclability.
       - Reduced packaging
         for shipping.
       - Low solvent usage
         during manufacture
         and maintenance.
       - Minimal mainte-
         nance requirements.
      EPA is preparing to "green" its
      photocopiers. With the help of
      the Office of Administration and
Resources Management, as well as EPP
Program staff, the Agency is selecting
environmental attributes for inclusion
in its new photocopier contracts. Some
environmental attributes will be manda-
tory, while  others will be optional.
Before awarding any contract, EPA will
compare all of the vendor bids along its
environmental, price, and performance
criteria. Vendors who can provide
copiers with the optional environmental
attributes will score higher when EPA
evaluates their bids.
 EPA is currently selecting the environ-
mental attributes to include in the con-
tract specifications. A preliminary list
has been developed based on the attri-
butes used by other countries, includ-
ing Japan, Spain, Germany, and
Norway,  when they purchase copiers.
The list also includes information
adapted from the standards for copiers
developed by environmental certifica-
tion organizations like Green Seal.
  In addition to contract specifications
for future procurement, EPA is develop-
ing recommendations for improving the
environmental performance of the
copiers already in use throughout the
Agency. The recommendations include
methods to increase toner container
recycling rates, convert copiers to a
double-sided default setting, and pro-
mote general user awareness of the
environmental impacts of their copier
habits. EPA also is examining existing
maintenance records in an effort to
identify additional environmental
improvement opportunities.
  For more information on EPAs copier
pilot project, contact Toby Wilson at
202 260-4929 or Russell Clark at
202 260-4418. Look for additional
information in
future issues of
the EPP Update.
                                 Painting  the   Town  Green
                                       Anew pilot project is making it eas-
                                       ier to select paints with improved
                                       environmental performance. After
                                 considering several methods for identify-
                                 ing "green" paint, a Department of
                                 Defense (DOD) environmental purchas-
                                 ing team contracted with Green Seal, an
                                 environmental certification organization,
                                 to help identify the environmental attri-
                                 butes relevant to paint. After selecting the
                                 attributes and excluding paints failing to
                                 meet the new environmental standards,
                                 DOD conducted tests to verify the
                                 volatile organic compound levels of the
                                 paints meeting the standards.
                                            As a result of the project, the Aberdeen
                                          Proving Ground, the DOD facility in
                                          Maryland leading the effort, is selecting
                                          paint from among 71 products meeting
                                          the environmental standards. The paints
                                          include flat, semi-gloss, and gloss finishes
                                          for interior and exterior applications. The
                                          paints are produced by a variety of man-
                                          ufacturers, which helps ensure competi-
                                          tive pricing.
                                            Detailed information on the Aberdeen
                                          paint project will be available in a forth-
                                          coming EPP case study available in late
                                          spring 1999. Check future issues of the
                                          EPP Update or the EPP Web site

     Pentagon   Renovation  Enlists
     Environmental  Purchasing
           At least one general in the U.S.
           Armed Forces is sitting in a
           recently renovated Pentagon
     office built with environmental prod-
     ucts. The general's office and more than
     100 other similar projects have been
     completed using construction materials
     with positive environmental attributes.
     The projects are part of a recent
     Department of Defense (DOD) renova-
     tion contract that identified specific
     environmental attributes for more than
     300 construction products.
      Before awarding the contract, DOD
     required contractors bidding for the
     work to submit proposals for research-
     ing and incorporating products with the
     environmental attributes DOD identi-
     fied. DOD compared the environmental
     purchasing plans, along with traditional
     price and performance concerns, when
     selecting the winning contractor.
      In December 1997,  DOD awarded the
     contract to HITT Contracting Inc. The
     contractor began identifying, selecting,
 for ac
tional information or contact Eun-
Sook Goidel of EPA at . •
and using products with recycled
content, low toxicity and other
positive environmental features as
soon as DOD approved the prod-
  This is not the first time DOD has
incorporated environmental purchasing
into a construction contract. DOD
contractors are also practicing
environmentally preferable
purchasing as part of the
Pentagon parking lot repair
and maintenance contract.
(See previous EPP Updates
or the EPP Web site for addi-
tional information.)
  According to Bob Cox, DOD
program manager for the Pentagon
interior renovation and parking lot
projects, "DOD is one of the largest
construction products purchasers.
Consequently, we can influence the
industry through our purchasing prac-
tices. If we establish a demand for envi-
ronmental products and services,
industry will respond."
  The EPP program is
preparing a case study out-
lining the development of
the renovation project, its
current progress, and the
lessons learned. The case
study is expected to be
released in spring 1999.
Look to future issues of the
EPP Update or the EPP Web
site  for more
information. •
                                                                 DOD is one of the
largest construction

products purchasers.

Consequently, we can

influence the industry

through our purchas-
                                                                ing practices."
                                                                   — Bob Cox, DOD program manager

United States
Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, DC 20460

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