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Purchasing & Support Services

Green Purchasing

SECTION: 2700 Purchasing & Support Services (Purchasing & Support Services)
ORIGINAL ISSUE DATE: February 19, 2008


SECTION: 2737 Green Purchasing

2737.1 Green Purchasing

Green Purchasing sets forth purchasing practices that promote sustainability of the environment. The objective is to:

  1. Reduce waste by increasing product efficiency and effectiveness;
  2. Purchase products that minimize environmental impacts, toxics, pollution, and hazards to work and community safety to the greatest extent practicable; and
  3. Purchase products that include recycled content, are durable, long-lasting, conserve energy and water, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the greatest extent practicable.

2737.3 Purpose

This policy is adopted in order to:

  1. Conserve natural resources, preserve air, soil, and water quality
  2. Minimize environmental impacts
  3. Eliminate or reduce toxins that create hazards to workers and the community
  4. Strengthen and support strong local recycling markets by encouraging County departments to use such products whenever practicable
  5. Reduce materials that are disposed of in landfill
  6. Increase the use of environmentally preferable products
  7. Create a model for purchasing recycled products that encourages other purchasers in our community to adopt similar goals

2737.5 Guidelines

When purchasing materials and contracting for services, the County shall consider the following guidelines:

  1. Source Reduction
    1. County shall institute purchasing practices that reduce waste and result in the purchase of fewer products whenever practicable and cost-effective without lowering safety or workplace quality standards.
    2. County shall purchase remanufactured products whenever practicable without reducing safety, quality, or effectiveness.
    3. Buyers shall consider short-term and long-term costs in comparing product alternatives. This includes evaluation of total costs expected during the time a product is owned, including but not limited to acquisition, extended warranties, operations, supplies, maintenance, disposal costs, and expected lifetime compared to other alternatives.
    4. Packaging that is reusable, recyclable, or compostable is preferred.
    5. County shall require suppliers of electronic equipment, including but not limited to computers, monitors, printers, and copiers, to take back equipment for reuse or environmentally safe recycling when County discards or replaces such equipment whenever practicable.

  2. Recycled Content Products
    1. Copiers and printers shall be compatible with the use of recycled content products.
    2. In accordance with California Public Contract Code, the County shall purchase re-refined lubricating and industrial oil for use in its vehicles and other equipment.
    3. When specifying asphalt, concrete, aggregate base, or portland cement concrete for road construction projects, County shall use recycled, reusable or reground, materials when practicable.
    4. County shall specify and purchase recycled content transportation products, including signs, cones, parking stops, delineators, and barricades when practicable.
    5. All pre-printed recycled content papers intended for distribution that are purchased or produced shall contain a statement that the paper is made of recycled content.

  3. Energy Savings
    1. County shall purchase energy efficient equipment with the up-to-date energy efficient functions.
    2. County shall replace inefficient lighting with energy-efficient equipment when practicable.
    3. County shall purchase products for which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star certification is available and that meet Energy Star certification when practicable.

  4. Landscaping
    1. All landscape renovations, construction, and maintenance by County, including contracted services, shall employ Delta-friendly landscaping or sustainable landscape management techniques whenever possible.
    2. Plants should be selected by choosing species that are appropriate to the microclimate and can grow to their natural size in the space allotted. Native and drought-tolerant plants that require no or minimal water once established are preferred.
    3. Hardscapes and landscape structures constructed of recycled content materials are encouraged. County shall limit the amount of impervious surface in the landscape, wherever practicable.

  5. Toxics and Pollution
    1. To the extent practicable, cleaning or disinfecting products (i.e. for janitorial or automotive use) shall not contain ingredients that are carcinogens, mutagens, or teratogens.
    2. To the extent practicable, the use of chlorofluorocarbon-containing refrigerants, solvents and other products shall be phased out.
    3. All surfactants and detergents shall be readily biodegradable and, where practicable, shall not contain phosphates.
    4. When maintaining buildings, the County shall consider the use of products with the lowest amount of volatile organic compounds and highest recycled content. When purchasing material such as paint, carpeting, adhesives, furniture, and casework, products with the lowest amount of formaldehyde should be considered wherever practicable.
    5. County shall reduce or eliminate its use of products that contribute to the formation of dioxins and furans. This includes, but is not limited to, purchasing paper, paper products, and janitorial paper products that are unbleached or that are processed without chlorine or chlorine derivatives, whenever possible.
    6. County shall purchase products and equipment with no lead or mercury whenever possible.
    7. When replacing vehicles, County shall consider less-polluting alternatives as available and practicable.

    2737.7 Priorities

    1. To the greatest extent practicable, recycled content shall be included in products that also meet required specifications.
    2. Nothing contained in this policy shall be construed as requiring a department, purchaser, or contractor to procure products that do not perform adequately for their intended use, exclude adequate competition, or are not available at a reasonable price in a reasonable period of time.
    3. Nothing contained in this policy shall be construed as requiring the County department, purchaser, or contractor to take any action that conflicts with local, state, or federal requirements.

    2737.9 Implementation

    1. The Purchasing Agent shall implement Green Purchasing in coordination with County departments.

    2737.11 Definitions

    1. "Delta-Friendly Landscaping" means working with the natural ecosystems of the Delta Area to foster soil health, reduce runoff and pollution, prevent and reuse plant waste, and conserve water and other natural resources. Delta-Friendly Landscaping practices are described in the forthcoming Delta-Friendly Landscape Guidelines, by the San Joaquin County Department of Public Works, Solid Waste Division.
    2. "Buyer" means anyone authorized to purchase or contract for purchases on behalf of the County.
    3. "Energy Star" means the U.S. EPA's energy efficiency product labeling program.
    4. "Energy Efficient Product" means a product that is in the upper 25% of energy efficiency for all similar products, or that is at least 10% more efficient than the minimum level that meets Federal standards.
    5. "Post-consumer Material" means a finished material which would normally be disposed of as a sold waste, having reached its intended end-use and completed its life cycle as a consumer item, and does not include manufacturing or converting wastes.
    6. "Practical" and "Practicable" mean whenever possible and compatible with local, state, and federal law, without reducing safety, quality, or effectiveness and where the product or service is available at a reasonable cost in a reasonable period of time. 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. Product evaluation should consider life-cycle and replacement costs.
    7. "Recovered Material" means fragments of products or finished products of a manufacturing process, which has converted a resource into a commodity of real economic value, and includes pre-consumer and post-consumer material but does not include excess resources of the manufacturing process.
    8. "Recycle Content" means the percentage of recovered material, including pre-consumer and post-consumer materials, in a product.
    9. "Reused Product" means any product designed to be used many times for the same or other purposes without additional processing except for specific requirements such as cleaning, painting or minor repairs.
    10. "Source Reduction" refers to products that result in a net reduction in the generation of waste compared to their previous or alternate version and includes durable, reusable, and remanufactured products, products with no, or reduced, toxic constituents, and products marketed with no, or reduced, packaging.

    2737.13 Examples of Environmentally Preferable Products:

    1. Recycled paper and paper products: Recycled photocopy paper, computer paper, and a growing variety of printing papers are widely available.
    2. Compost products
    3. Horticultural mulch made with recycled land clearing and other wood debris
    4. Construction aggregates made with recycled cement, concrete, glass, or asphalt
    5. Cement and asphalt containing glass cullet, recycled fiber or plastic, tire rubber, or fly ash
    6. Lubricating oil and hydraulic oil with re-refined oil content
    7. Anti-freeze without ethylene glycol
    8. Recycled plastic products
    9. Remanufactured tires and products made from recycled tire rubber, including rubber mats and play field surfaces
    10. Insulation products made of recycled material
    11. Recycled paint
    12. Soy-based printing inks
    13. Other products as designated by the Purchasing Agent

    2737.15 Exemptions

    1. Nothing contained in this policy shall preclude user agencies from requiring recycled material content as a bid specification.
    2. 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.