Green Procurement and Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP)

Environmentally Preferable Products (EPP) are products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. Such products or services may include, but are not limited to, those that contain recycled content, minimize waste, conserve energy or water, and reduce the amount of toxics disposed or consumed.

Today, more and more products are made from recycled materials—from the carpeting and insulation used in office buildings, to the reams of office paper purchased each day. Buying recycled helps "close the recycling loop" by putting the materials we collect through recycling programs back to good use as products in the marketplace.

The web resources listed below contain information on manufacturers and vendors of recycled products, environmentally preferable procurement programs, case studies, green procurement starter kits, model contracts, implementation information and buy-recycled training information. 

Buying Recycled Products Helps

  • Conserve natural resources by decreasing the need for virgin materials (i.e., timber and oil)
  • Save energy since it takes less energy to produce recycled products.
    Protect clean air and water by decreasing the emissions of greenhouse gases and water pollutants.
  • Reduce the amount of waste that must be incinerated or landfilled.
  • Increase demand for recyclable products and boost the market for products made from recycled materials.
  • Items made with recycled content

Common Misperceptions

  • Quality - Recycled-content products perform as well as their virgin counterparts. You do not need to compromise on quality to purchase recycled products. You will probably not be able to distinguish recycled-content products from virgin products.
  • Cost - Recycled products are not always more expensive than the equivalent virgin products. Prices for both virgin and recycled products depend on availability and quantity of material stock, transportation charges, economy, and geographic location.

What Other Things Can I Do For Recycling?

  • Buy in Bulk and Concentrates. Concentrates save waste by not packaging water and using smaller containers. Buy in bulk to save on packaging waste.
  • Talk to the Store Owner. If you do not find products made from recycled materials, talk to the store manager and request that the store stock more of these items.
  • Pass the Word. Tell family, friends, school, and office about the importance of buying recycled products and “closing the loop.”
  • Write or Call Manufacturers. Many manufacturers will not use recycled materials or packaging because there is not a demand from consumers. If the makers of your favorite brands use less efficient packaging than some of their competitors, let them know!

What’s the Difference Between Pre-Consumer and Post-Consumer Recycled Content?

  • Pre-consumer<3> refers to the material such as factory trimmings, damaged or obsolete products and overruns generated by manufacturers.​
  • Post-consumer content refers to material that has served its intended purpose and has been recycled by a resident or business. By looking for the highest post-consumer recycled content you can find, you help build demand for material collected in community recycling programs.

For more information please contact The Resource Management Program at 410-537-3314.

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