DOL Logo Environmentally Preferable Procurement

Blue Line

Table of Contents

Blue Ball Introduction

Blue Ball Background

Blue BallAm I Required to Follow Environmental Preference
Blue BallWhat Are the Laws and Regulations
            * Federal Laws
            * Executive Orders
            * Other Directives
Blue BallWhat Do All of These Words Mean
Blue BallWhere Can I Find All the Information on These Products

Blue BallOffice Products and Equipment

                    Blue BallNon-Paper Office Products
                    Blue BallElectronic Equipment

Blue BallPaper Products

Blue BallVehicles

Blue BallConstruction/Renovation

Blue BallFacilities
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In its day-to-day operations, the Department of Labor (DOL) has the opportunity and obligation to be environmentally and energy conscious in its selection and use of needed products and services. For the nation to fully recognize the benefits of recycling, resource recovery, and energy efficiency, there must be commercial markets available for materials that meet those criteria. When DOL procures products containing such materials, it helps create demand for those products.

There are often direct financial gains to be achieved by DOL and other procuring agencies from the procurement of products containing environmentally preferable materials. For example, the cost of a retread tire is usually 30-50% less than the cost of a new tire. The life-cycle cost for many energy-efficient appliances is much lower in certain areas of the country than equipment that costs less initially. Life-cycle analysis is the comprehensive examination of a product's environmental and economic effects throughout its lifetime including new material extraction, transportation, manufacturing, use, and disposal. Additionally, efficient use of resources may reduce operating costs.

There are also indirect environmental and financial gains to be achieved on a national level. Promoting waste prevention by purchasing recovered items can slow the use of virgin material, as well as slow the rate at which the nation's landfills become filled and closed. This is especially true for paper since paper takes up roughly one-third of the space in our nation's landfills. Federal Government procurement and use of recycled products, especially re-refined oil, can reduce our nation's dependency on foreign governments for raw materials.

Through a variety of laws and Executive orders, Congress and Presidents Bush and Clinton have mandated a number of programs to encourage Federal agencies, as well as their contractors and grantees, to make purchases which are environmentally preferable. In most cases, the environmentally preferable choice should be made where it is cost effective, uses life-cycle costing, and will not interfere with the agency's mission. There is also a Secretary of Labor's order establishing that it is Departmental policy to increase and expand markets for recovered materials and environmentally preferable products through greater preference and demand for such products.

Environmentally preferable, or "green", procurement covers products in all aspects of Federal purchasing, including office supplies, paper products, computer equipment, vehicle parts, cleaning products, landscaping, bathroom fixtures, packing materials, food preparation, construction, and lighting. The various directives issued by Congress and the executive branch cover energy conservation, solid waste reduction and recycling, pollution prevention, water conservation, alternative fuels, ozone depletion, and elimination of hazardous waste.

The purpose of this guide is to promote the purchase of the items covered under these various laws and regulations by providing information to potential purchasers on the various requirements. To make it easier to make a purchase, the Guide is organized by product type rather than by directive. Section 2 provides a brief summary of the various laws and executive orders that govern these purchases, as well as definitions of terms commonly used in discussing procurement of these items. You can also get up-to-date information on developments through the electronic companion to this guide on the Department of Labor "LaborNet".

The material used in this guide is taken mainly from the following sources: "Greening Federal Facilities" (Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)), | "Greening the Government" (Office of the Federal Environmental Executive), " | Buying energy-efficient Products" (FEMP) | "EnviroSense, Guide for Developing P2 Strategies for Executive Order 12856 and Beyond" (Environment Protection Agency (EPA)) | and various other EPA and Department of Energy (DOE) publications.


Globe Pollution prevention has become a central focus for environmental efforts in Congress, and at EPA, DOE, and many states and local communities. One area where Government plays a primary role in pollution prevention is as the nation's single largest consumer of goods and services. This Guide focuses on how the Federal Government, through its purchasing agents, seeks to implement environmental preference through acquisition and procurement processes which recognize and affirm pollution prevention and resource conservation (affirmative procurement).


The goals of affirmative procurement are reflected in certain Federal laws, embodied in several Executive orders, and supported by the Department of Labor and other agency programs and initiatives. All of these directives have requirements for environmental purchasing, but provide for exemptions under certain conditions.

In 1976, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) was enacted. The primary function of RCRA is to ensure the safe and environmentally acceptable management of solid waste. Two preferred methods of solid waste management are recycling and resource recovery, and both can be encouraged through Federal procurement policies promoting purchasing and using products made from recovered materials. On October 20, 1993, the President of the United States issued Executive Order 12873, "Federal Acquisition, Recycling, and Waste Prevention". The Order expands Federal waste prevention and recycling programs and reiterates Federal procurement policies mandated by RCRA.

The Order requires Federal agencies to procure environmentally preferable products and services. It requires Federal agencies to develop and implement, to the extent practicable, affirmative procurement programs.

Bucket with WaterAnother important pollution prevention effort is energy efficiency, which cuts across many governmental activities and roles. The procurement guidance in this area comes from the requirements of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, a number of energy efficiency programs launched by EPA over the past few years, and several Executive orders. The DOE plays a key role, developing efficiency standards and labels for products and equipment, and establishing demonstration programs for new technologies. Under Executive Order 12902, the Office of Management and Budget is required to issue an annual update on listings of energy-efficient products and practices - agencies are required to purchase from the listed products whenever practicable and cost-effective. In addition, agencies are directed to purchase, whenever practicable and cost-effective, products in the upper 25 percent of energy efficiency for all similar products, or products that are at least 10 percent more efficient than the minimum level that meets Federal standards.


There are several different guiding documents that set out the requirements for environmentally preferable purchasing in the Federal Government. Where more than one directive might apply, the first order of preference is to follow the laws enacted by Congress. Secondly, there are a number of Executive orders issued by President Bush and President Clinton that Federal agencies are required to implement and follow. In addition, there are a number of regulations which have been passed by other Federal agencies that we must follow. Lastly, guidance or memorandum from the President and Department of Labor policies govern our actions.

Federal Laws

The following statutes apply to Federal purchasers.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1976. Section 6002 directs Government agencies to promote recycling by increasing their purchases of products containing recovered materials. RCRA requires EPA to designate products that can be made with recovered materials and to recommend practices for buying these products.

National Energy Conservation Policy Act (NECPA) of 1978. This law specifies the use of a life-cycle costing as the basis for energy procurement policy and specified the rate for retrofit of Federal buildings with cost-effective energy measures.

The Pollution Prevention Act of 1990. Through this Act, Congress directed EPA to "...promote source reduction practices in other Federal agencies...." and "...identify opportunities to use Federal procurement to encourage source reduction." It calls for the following: pollution should be prevented or reduced at the source whenever feasible; pollution that cannot be prevented or recycled should be treated in an environmentally safe manner whenever feasible; and disposal or other release into the environment should be employed only as a last resort and should be conducted in an environmentally safe manner.

Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT). This Act increases conservation and energy-efficiency requirements for Federal agencies, requiring a 20% reduction in per-square-foot energy consumption by Fiscal Year 2000 compared to a 1985 baseline.

Executive Orders

Executive Order 12759, "Federal Energy Management", April 17, 1991, directed all Federal agencies to, among other things, reduce their energy use and increase energy efficiency by at least 20% by the year 2000 in Federal buildings and facilities, from 1985 levels. It was replaced by Executive Order 12902.

Executive Order 12780, "Federal Recycling and Procurement Policy";, October 1991, was designed to promote a greater role in waste reduction and recycling on the part of all Federal agencies and to set up a special council to monitor and report on agency performance. This Order was rescinded with the signing of E.O. 12873 by President Clinton on October 20, 1993.

Executive Order 12843, "Procurement Requirements and Policies for Federal Agencies for Ozone-Depleting Substances", April 23, 1993, directs Federal agencies to change their procurement policies to reduce the use of ozone-depleting substances earlier than the 1995 phase-out deadline called for in the Montreal Protocol. Under the Order, Federal agencies are to minimize acquisition of the most potent (Class I) ozone-depleting substances and to maximize the use of safe alternatives. Federal agencies are directed to modify specifications and contracts that require the use of ozone-depleting substances and to substitute non-ozone-depleting substances to the extent economically practicable.

Executive Order 12844, "Federal Use of Alternative Fueled Vehicles", April 21, 1993, requires the Federal Government to adopt aggressive plans to acquire (subject to availability of funds and considering life-cycle costs) alternative fueled vehicles, in numbers that exceed by 50% the requirements set forth in the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

Executive Order 12845, "Requiring Agencies to Purchase Energy-Efficient Computer Equipment", April 21, 1993, requires all acquisitions of microcomputers, monitors, and printers to meet EPA Energy Star requirements for energy efficiency, including low power standby features as defined by EPA Energy Star Standards.

Executive Order 12856, "Federal Compliance With Right-to-Know Laws and Pollution Prevention Requirements", requires Federal agencies to establish a plan and goals for eliminating or reducing the unnecessary acquisition of products containing extremely hazardous substances or toxic chemicals. The plan should encompass products that the agency manufactures, processes, and uses. Each Federal agency must also review its specifications and other standardized documents, and identify opportunities to eliminate or reduce the acquisition of extremely hazardous substances or toxic chemicals.

Executive Order 12873, "Federal Acquisition, Recycling, and Waste Prevention", October 20, 1993, addresses the Government's purchasing power, incorporates environmental considerations into decision making, and encourages waste prevention and recycling in daily operations. Once EPA issues a procurement guideline designating a specific item, procuring agencies have one year to ensure that 100% of their purchases of products meet or exceed EPA's guideline standard subject to the following limitations: price, competition, availability, and performance. EPA has developed a Comprehensive Procurement Guideline (CPG) and a related Recovered Materials Advisory Notice (RMAN) for each designated item.

Executive Order 12902, "Energy Efficiency and Water Conservation at Federal Facilities", March 8, 1994, requires Federal agencies to reduce energy consumption by 30% per gross square foot by FY 2005 as compared to FY 1985. To the extent that it is cost effective, agencies are to implement energy and water conservation projects, and procure products in the top 25% of their class in energy efficiency where they meet the agency's performance requirements.

Other Directives

A number of regulations and policies have been issued to provide guidance on implementing the laws and Executive orders outlined above, some of which are summarized below.

Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), Policy Letter 92-4, "Procurement of Environmentally Sound and Energy-Efficient Products and Services," was issued pursuant to section 6002(g) of RCRA. It establishes executive branch policies for the acquisition and use of environmentally sound, energy-efficient products and services and provides guidance for Federal agencies to implement section 6002 of RCRA. OFPP's Policy Letter also requires procuring Federal agencies when drafting or reviewing specifications for guideline items, to assure they: 1) do not exclude the use of recovered materials, 2) do not unnecessarily require the item to be manufactured from virgin materials, and 3) require the use of recovered materials and environmentally sound components to the maximum extent practicable without jeopardizing the intended use of the item.

Executive Memorandum on "Environmentally and Economically Beneficial Practices on Federal Landscaped Grounds", April 26, 1994, requires Federal grounds and Federally funded projects, where cost-effective and practicable, to use regionally native plants for landscaping. It also requires facility managers to promote construction practices that minimize adverse effects on the natural habitat; minimize use of fertilizers and pesticides; use integrated pest management techniques; and recycle green waste.

Secretary's Order 5-94, "Procurement and Use of Environmentally Preferable Products and Services", August 19, 1994, directs the Department of Labor to take appropriate actions to increase and expand markets for recovered materials and environmentally preferable products through greater preference and demand for such products.

Energy Efficiency and Resource Conservation Challenge. The Challenge was initiated by DOE and cosponsored by the Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Federal Procurement Policy. The purpose is to assist agencies in meeting the energy and water conservation goals of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and Executive Order 12902, which direct agencies to buy products in the upper 25% of energy and water efficiency for comparable products or at least 10% more efficient than the DOE issued national standards. More than 21 agencies (including the Department of Labor), representing about 95% of the buying power of the Federal Government, have agreed to participate in the Challenge.

Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG). Issued by EPA, the CPG designates 24 items in 7 product categories that procuring agencies are required to purchase with recycled content. The CPG also applies to lease contracts covering designated items. If an agency spends more than $10,000 per year on a product listed in the CPG, it is required to purchase it with the highest recycled-content level practicable. Under the CPG, an agency may choose to purchase designated items that do not contain recovered materials if it determines that 1) the price of a given item made with recovered materials is unreasonable, 2) there is inadequate competition for the item, 3) unusual and unreasonable delays would result from obtaining the item, or 4) the item does not meet the agency's reasonable performance specifications.

Affirmative Procurement Plan. As required under RCRA Section 6002 and Executive Order 12873, this is an agency's strategy for maximizing its purchase of products containing recovered materials designated by EPA in its CPG. Currently, there are 24 recycled-content products in seven product categories designated in the CPG.

In addition to the policies and regulations mentioned above, there are several programs which provide guidance to agencies on the implementation of environmentally preferable laws and regulations.

Energy Star Buildings Program. This is a voluntary energy-efficiency EPA program for commercial buildings which focuses on profitable investment opportunities available in most buildings using proven technologies. A central component of the program is the five-stage implementation strategy that takes advantage of building system interactions, enabling building owners to achieve additional energy savings while lowering capital expenditures.

Energy Star Office Equipment. This program was announced in 1992 to promote the development of energy-efficient office equipment. It is based on creating voluntary partnerships between EPA and industry by identifying office equipment that meets specifications set by EPA with the ENERGY STAR label, for instance energy-efficient personal computers that automatically enter a low-power, standby state when they are inactive. In 1993, Executive Order 12845 was issued requiring all agencies to purchase ENERGY STAR computers, monitors and printers, as long as they meet other performance requirements and are available in a competitive bid.

Energy Star Buildings Green Lights Program

Green Lights Program. This is a voluntary pollution prevention program sponsored by EPA in which partners agree to install energy-efficient lighting where profitable as long as lighting quality is maintained or improved. The primary purpose is to encourage U.S. organizations to install energy-efficient lighting, in order to prevent the creation of air pollution, solid waste, and other environmental impacts of electricity generation. Federal partners have until 2005 to complete upgrades, and it is understood that completion of projects is contingent upon the availability of appropriated funds or third-party financing resources.

Recovered Materials Advisory Notice (RMAN). This is the companion piece to the Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines for Procurement of Products Containing Recovered Materials (CPG). It provides recommendations for purchasing the products designated in the CPG.


A number of terms are used in environmentally preferable purchasing. It is important to understand the terms when making a purchase and to make sure that the item being purchased meets the particular Federal standard. The fact that a product claims to be "green" or "energy-efficient" does not, by itself, meet the requirement to make the environmentally preferable purchase. For the purchase of products made with recycled content, the CPG sets out the various minimum requirements. When trying to purchase an energy-efficient product, the Energy Star criteria or the FEMP Energy Efficiency Recommendations set the standards for best available technology.

Designated Item: an available EPA guideline item or category of items, made with recovered material, advancing the purpose of RCRA when purchased.

EcoPurchasing: means considering attributes such as recycled content, toxicity, reusability, durability, and repairability before you buy a product.

Energy-Efficient Products: those products that are in the upper 25% of energy efficiency for all similar products, or at least 10% more efficient than the minimum level that meets Federal standards.

Environmentally Preferable: means products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on the natural environment or on human health when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance, or disposal of the product or service.

Greening AmericaGreening: the application of energy-efficient technologies and environmentally preferred or environmentally friendly products and practices in a multiyear, multidisciplinary project designed to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste, improve worker productivity, and save money throughout a facility.

Life-cycle Costing (LCC): the amortized annual cost of a product, including costs associated with capital, installation, operations, maintenance, and disposal, discounted over the lifetime of the product.

Minimum Content Standard: the minimum recovered material content specifications set to assure the recovered material content required is the maximum available without jeopardizing the intended item use or violating the limitations of the minimum content standards set forth by EPA's guidelines.

Postconsumer Materials: materials or finished products that have served their intended use as consumer items and have been diverted or recovered from waste destined for disposal.

Postconsumer Waste: a material or product, discarded for disposal after passing through the hands of a final user, having served its intended purpose. Postconsumer waste is part of the broader category "recycled material."

Practicable: capable of performing in accordance with applicable specifications, available at a reasonable price and within a reasonable period of time, and while a satisfactory level of competition with other products is being maintained.

Preference: when two products or services are equal in performance characteristics and price, the Government, in making purchasing decisions, will favor the more environmentally sound or energy-efficient product.

Recovered Materials: waste materials and by-products of manufacturing processes that have been recovered or diverted from solid waste. Materials and by-products normally reused within an original manufacturing process (the same process from which they were generated) are not included.

Recyclability: the degree to which a product or material may be recovered or otherwise diverted from the solid waste stream for the purpose of recycling.

Recycled Material: a material utilized in place of raw or virgin material in product manufacturing consisting of materials derived from postconsumer waste, industrial scrap, material derived from agricultural wastes, and other items, all of which can be used in new product manufacture.

Recycling: the series of activities, including collection, separation, and processing, by which materials are recovered from the solid waste stream for use as raw materials in the manufacture of new products (other than fuel for producing heat or power by combustion).

Solid Waste: garbage, refuse, sludges, and other discarded solid materials, including those from industrial, commercial, and agricultural operations, and from community activities. This excludes solids or dissolved materials in domestic sewage or other significant pollutants in water resources, such as silt, dissolved or suspended solids in industrial waste water effluents, dissolved materials in irrigation return flow, etc.

Source Reduction: any practice: (1) reducing the amount of any hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant entering any waste stream or otherwise released into the environment prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal; and (2) reducing the hazards to public health and the environment associated with the release of such substances, pollutants, or contaminants.

Virgin Material: a mined or harvested raw material to be used in manufacturing.

Waste Prevention: any change in the design, manufacturing, purchase, or use of materials or products (including packaging) to reduce their toxicity before they become municipal solid waste. Waste prevention also refers to the reuse of products or materials.

Waste Reduction: preventing or decreasing the amount of waste being generated through waste prevention, recycling, or purchasing recycled and environmentally preferable products.

Water-Saving Products: those products that are in the upper 25% of water conservation for all similar products, or at least 10% more water conserving than the minimum level that meets Federal standards.

Xeriscape Landscaping: quality landscaping that conserves water and protects the environment.



The materials that follow in this manual provide the CPG guidelines for the 24 designated EPA items and the Energy Efficiency Product Recommendations issued thus far by FEMP. In addition, there is ENERGY STAR criteria for computer and office equipment.

To procure designated items meeting or exceeding EPA's guidelines for designated items, procurement originators should consider the established Federal supply sources, such as the General Services Administration (GSA), Government Printing Office (GPO), and Defense General Supply Center. Procuring recycled products through these sources offers the following advantages:

These sources also provide an additional service through independent estimation, certification, and verification of EPA-designated items containing recovered materials, thereby reducing overhead costs for procurement originators to track and monitor vendor compliance with affirmative procurement requirements.

Accessibility Information


GSA Federal Supply Service

Government Printing Office

Defense General Supply Center

EPA-designated Items


Paper & Paper Products

Green Check Mark

Green Check Mark
(printing and writing papers only)

Re-Refined Oil
Green Check Mark
Retread Tires Green Check Mark

Building Insulation

Green Check Mark


Recycled Toner Cartridges

Green Check Mark



Non-Paper Office Products

The RMAN recommends recycled-content levels to look for when purchasing non-paper office products. Following the RMAN's recommended levels will help ensure that your purchases meet the CPG requirements. Rather than just one level of recycled content, the RMAN recommends ranges that reflect actual market conditions. The recommendations are based on extensive market research to identify recycled-content products that are commercially available, priced competitively, and meet buyers' quality standards. The recommendations established by EPA for the following items are found in this section:

Electronic Equipment

Energy Star Office EquipmentOffice electronics are the fastest growing users of electricity in commercial buildings in the United States, with over 30 billion kWh of annual consumption valued at more than $2.1 billion. When new office equipment such as a computer, monitor, copier, or fax machine is purchased, be certain they are Energy Star-compliant as required by Executive Order 12845.


ComputerComputer equipment is the fastest growing electric load in the business world. In fact, energy use by computers could even double by the year 2000. Unfortunately, much of the energy associated with computers is wasted because PCs are often kept on while not in use. This is why it is important to purchase a computer that automatically "goes to sleep" when not in use. ENERGY STAR computers automatically power down to 30 watts or less when not in use. They can save you anywhere from $7 to $52 per year in electricity bills, and they may actually last longer than conventional products because they spend a large portion of time in a low-power sleep mode. By purchasing an ENERGY STAR computer and remembering to turn it off during long periods of non-use, it can actually last ten times as long as a conventional computer.

It is important that buyers beware that there is likely to be a substantial difference in energy performance among Energy Star designated computers. The program only requires that a machine be capable of going into a low-power state. It doesn't place limitations on how much power is consumed during periods of activity, how soon the low-power state is activated after inactivity, or what the power consumption is during its low-power state.

Another way to save energy used by computers is to buy an Energy Star computer and Energy Star monitor, or a laptop. Laptops draw only 15-to-25 watts compared to the 150 watts used by a conventional, non-Energy Star PC/monitor.


A significant portion of energy is consumed by monitors. However, monitors equipped with a power-management feature can save 60-80% of energy that would otherwise be wasted. New trends toward larger desktop monitors, color, and higher resolution have increased the amount of energy required to operate monitors. This has made it even more important to choose a monitor that automatically powers down when inactive.

ENERGY STAR monitors automatically power down to 30 watts or less when not in use. To wake up a monitor, all you have to do is simply touch the keyboard or mouse. These monitors emit less heat into the workplace than conventional monitors, which saves the Government money on utility bills from heating and cooling load reductions.

The conditions for qualifying equipment are the same as for computers; i.e., displays must be capable of going into a low-power state of 30 watts or less during periods of inactivity or pre-determined times. And as with computers, a power managed display could save 60-80% of the energy it would otherwise use.


Energy saver modes are now available on a wide variety of printers in response to the Energy Star printer program. The overall energy use of a printer is largely influenced by stand-by or energy saver mode ratings, as actual copying periods represent only a small percentage of on-time. Therefore, if your office requires a high quality laser printer, you should make sure that you purchase a machine with an energy saver feature and that this feature allows for a substantial (at least 50%) reduction in energy use as compared to its idling rating.

Look for printers with the double-sided printing option.

Fax Machines

Speed, resolution, cost, and paper requirements are probably the most important factors in choosing a fax machine. Fax machines are generally turned on 24 hours per day. However, they are only actually in use for about 5% of the total time that they are turned on! ENERGY STAR fax machines are designed to save energy by being programmed to reach a low-power state after a specified period of inactivity. ENERGY STAR fax machines are equipped with the power management feature and can reduce energy costs by almost 50%.

ENERGY STAR faxes can scan double-sided pages. This will reduce both your copying and your paper costs. The cost of consumables; i.e., paper, toner/ink cartridges, etc., can add up to more than the cost of the machine itself in a year. It is important to find out the cost of consumables and figure this into your purchasing decision. Thermal paper required for thermal fax machines costs about five times more per 8.5" x 11" sheet than plain paper. This price difference can more than make up for the increased cost of an inkjet machine over an inexpensive thermal machine in less than a year. Additionally, thermal faxes are often copied onto plain paper, further increasing your paper costs. Thermal paper is also not recyclable.


The most important factor in choosing your copier is determining the correct size machine. The amount of energy use typically increases linearly with increased copy volume capability. Coincidentally, the price of machines also rises with increased copy volume, so your incentive to choose a machine properly sized for your needs is substantial.

Copiers are the most energy-intensive type of office equipment. Because copiers waste energy by sitting idle for several hours each day, there is great potential to improve the energy efficiency of copiers in a variety of ways. ENERGY STAR copiers are equipped with a feature that allows them to automatically turn off after a period of inactivity, reducing a copier's annual electricity costs by over 60%.

High-speed copiers are set to automatically make double-sided copies, reducing paper costs.


Products made from paper, widely used throughout the Government, are targeted in Executive Order 12873 for both elimination in the waste stream and for increased environmentally preferable content.

Minimum Content Standards for Printing and Writing Paper

Section 504 of the Executive Order 12873 requires all Federal purchases of specified uncoated printing and writing paper to contain a minimum of 20% postconsumer material. This percentage increases to 30% beginning December 31, 1998. Both GSA and GPO have established affirmative procurement programs for paper containing recovered material. They are actively soliciting available products containing recovered material that are reasonably priced, available within a reasonable time period, and that perform as specified. Copier paper purchased through the DOL Warehouse meets the CPG requirements.

The Paper Products RMAN recommends recovered materials content levels for a variety of paper items, including printing and writing papers, paper towels, facial tissue, cartons and boxes, and newsprint.

Waste Prevention Opportunities

Section 504(c)(2) of the Order encourages Federal agencies to implement waste prevention techniques, such as electronic transfer and double-sided copying, so total annual expenditures for recycled printing and writing paper do not exceed current annual budgets for paper products as measured by average annual expenditures. Further, section 402(d)(3) of the Order requires that contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements issued after the effective date of the Order (October 20, 1993) include provisions requiring documents to be printed double-sided on recycled paper, meeting or exceeding established minimum content standards.

EO 12873 also requires the executive branch to implement an electronic acquisition system to reduce waste by eliminating unnecessary paper transactions in the acquisition process. The electronic acquisition system will also foster accurate data collection and reporting agencies' recycled content and environmentally preferable products purchases. DOL will utilize an electronic acquisition system once such a system is developed and implemented for Federal Government use.

Revision of Brightness Specifications and Standards

Brightness, as a characteristic in paper specifications, has often been seen as a barrier to supplying recycled content paper to the Government. To comply with the brightness requirements of the Order for printing paper, the Joint Council on Printing (JCP) has reviewed and issued a revised Government Paper Specification Standards Book (No. 10).

By statute, JCP is responsible for setting specifications for printing papers used by Federal agencies. GSA is responsible for preparing Federal specifications for non-printing and Comercial Item Descriptions for the Federal Government. GPO issues specialized printing paper and paper product specifications for its own program.


The use of motor vehicles by Government agencies is addressed by Executive orders covering both energy consumption and the use of recovered materials. The energy directives address the use of alternative fuels, as well as the reduction of miles traveled to make better use of limited energy resources.

Alternative Fuel Vehicles

CarExecutive Order 12844 (Federal Use of Alternative Fueled Vehicles) places the Federal Government in the leadership of the use of alternative fueled vehicles, calling on each agency to adopt aggressive plans to exceed the purchase requirements of such vehicles established by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Alternative fuel vehicles reduce air pollution, reduce U.S. demand for foreign oil, and encourage technological leadership in one of our most important industries. Alternative fuels include ethanol, methanol, propane, compressed natural gas, hydrogen, and electricity.

The Energy Policy Act of 1992 set requirements for the Federal Government to purchase at least 10,000 alternative-fueled vehicles by FY 1995. The Order committed the Federal Government to accelerating this schedule, exceeding these requirements by 50% with an additional purchase of 11,250 vehicles by FY 1995. Thereafter, for each Federal agency, the Energy Policy Act requires new acquisitions for a Federal fleet to include 25% AFV by FY 1996, 33% in FY 1997, 50% in FY 1998, and 75% in FY 1999 and the years following. (A fleet is defined as 20 centrally fueled light duty vehicles located in a metropolitan area with over 250,000 people.)

Federal agencies are encouraged by Executive Order 12844 to aggressively pursue these AFV acquisition goals. Both DOE and GSA are authorized to assist agencies by paying the incremental costs of AFVs associated with acquisition and disposal (DOE), or by providing incentives to purchase AFVs, such as priority processing of procurement requests (GSA). DOE and GSA will also carry out an education, promotion, and coordination program for Federal fleets. DOE is charged with responsibilities for coordinating Federal planning and siting efforts with industry, state, and local governments, to ensure that adequate private sector refueling capabilities exist wherever Federal fleet AFVs are sited.

Fuel Consumption

In accordance with Executive Order 12759, "Federal Energy Management", each agency operating 300 or more commercially designed motor vehicles had to reduce motor vehicle gasoline and diesel consumption at least 10% in comparison with fiscal year 1991. Beginning in FY 1997, GSA will collect fuel consumption and cost data for passenger vehicles from agency fleet managers and report it to DOE for the Annual Energy Report to Congress. Data on all other vehicles will be reported as part of the Department's submission on energy consumption.

Regulations concerning the purchase or lease of fuel-efficient motor vehicles are found in the Federal Property Management Regulations (41 CFR Ch. 101, Subchapter G, Subpart 101-38.1).

Recovered Materials Products

The Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines contain three items associated with the operation of motor vehicles. They are: re-refined lubricating oil, retread tires, and engine coolants.

Re-Refined Lubricating Oil

Re-refined oils are used lubricating oils that have been cleaned through a refining process. Like virgin oils, they are mixed with an appropriate package of additives to produce a desired performance. EPA reviewed studies of re-refined oil conducted by the National Bureau of Standards, the Army, DOE, and others. These studies concluded that re-refined oils perform as well as virgin oils. The National Bureau of Standards concluded that laboratory and field testing or re-refined oils is sufficient to demonstrate that they can meet the prescribed test limits, are substantially equivalent to virgin oils, and, for some parameters, perform better than virgin oils. You should not require lubricating oils containing re-refined oil to meet any performance standard higher than that required of virgin lubricating oils.

Retread Tires

The Federal retread tires guideline applies to purchases of replacement tires for automobiles, light and heavy trucks and trailers, buses, and off-road vehicles. Retreading services and retread tires are available through GSA's Federal Tire Program. If retreading services are not practicable, then a retread tire must be ordered in lieu of a new tire whenever a retread is available in the size, load range, and tread designation desired. Retread tires provided through GSA's Federal Tire Program are subjected to the same Qualified Products List testing required of new tires. All applicable statements of work, procurement requests, and grants involving replacement tires for automobiles, light and heavy trucks and trailers, and off-road tires, shall specify a retread tire or retreading services over purchasing a new tire. These requirements do not apply to the purchase of original equipment tires.


Fedeal Energy Management Program: Welcome to the Greening Federal Facilities Web Site

In designing guidance for the implementation of RCRA and the procurement requirements of the various Executive orders, EPA, GSA, and DOE have taken a "Green Buildings" approach to construction and renovation. This strategy looks at the overall interaction of various building systems to design the environmentally preferable building. Some of the recommendations for a Green Building include:

Building Materials

The CPG designates items that Federal agencies and their contractors must purchase with recovered materials. The recommendations established by EPA for the following items are found in this section:


Research shows the items listed in the CPG to be safe, high quality, widely available, and cost competitive with virgin products. So, whether you are managing building projects for your agency or redecorating the director's office, you should be considering the purchase of products made from recovered materials.

Energy-efficient Products

There are several products for which DOE has published energy efficiency recommendations, establishing criteria for the top 25% technology. These include:

In addition to these items, several building components are part of the EPA "Energy Star" Program; a product with the "Energy Star" label meets the energy efficiency criteria for the top 25% in technology. There are "Energy Star" Programs for HVAC (Heating and Cooling) equipment, lighting (Green Lights), and whole building systems (Buildings).

It is important to consider life-cycle costing when considering energy efficient products. Where utility costs are low, the lifetime cost of operating a less expensive piece of equipment that uses greater amounts of electricity may be less than purchasing a more expensive energy-efficient model.


The tremendous amount of energy utilized in the production and transportation of clean water places water conservation under the umbrella of energy efficiency. Therefore, it is important to consider water use even in areas where water supply is sufficient. Efficiency recommendations have been developed for the following products: FAUCETS, SHOWERHEADS, TOILETS, and URINALS.


In maintaining Federal facilities, it is necessary to be aware of requirements for the use of energy-efficient products, products containing recovered and environmentally preferable materials, non-ozone depleting substances, and waste disposal.

Transportation Products

You can now find items like traffic safety cones and traffic barricades made from recovered plastic, rubber, steel, and fiberglass. Using these products helps give new life to materials like milk jugs and scrap tires, items that otherwise would be thrown away. Transportation products containing recovered materials must conform to the "Manual on Uniform Highway Traffic Control Devices," used by the Federal Highway Administration, as well as other applicable Federal requirements and specifications. There are RMAN guidelines for TRAFFIC BARRICADES and TRAFFIC CONES.


The CPG Recommendations cover HYDRAULIC MULCH and YARD TRIMMINGS COMPOST. In addition, the President's "Memorandum on Environmentally Preferable Landscaping" addresses issues regarding landscaping practices which minimize harmful impacts on the environment and conserve water. Good landscaping practices can minimize the use of potable water, decrease stormwater runoff, and reduce the use of harmful pesticides and other resources. Selecting the appropriate plants for the location, such as native plants or other plants well-adapted to the conditions, avoids problems requiring extensive irrigation or pest control materials.

Cleaning Products

EPA and GSA conducted a pilot project to gain an understanding of the cleaning industry and cleaning products. Drawing from their work, selected product attributes were identified as initial indicators for Federal consumers purchasing cleaning products. Vendors on the FSS Biodegradable Cleaner/Degreaser Schedule will voluntarily provide information about their products and selected product attributes on skin irritation, food chain exposure, air pollution potential, reduced/recyclable packaging, fragrances and dyes, and product features to minimize exposure to concentrates.


When purchasing new or servicing existing equipment containing refrigerant, it is important to be aware of special requirements for recovery and disposal. Under section 608 of the Clean Air Act (1990), EPA has established regulations that require service practices that maximize recycling of ozone-depleting compounds (both chlorofluorocarbons [CFCs] and hydrochlorofluorocarbons [HCFCs]) during the servicing and disposal of air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment.

As of November 14, 1994, the sale of refrigerant in any size container is restricted to technicians certified under an EPA established program. EPA requires that persons servicing or disposing of air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment certify to EPA that they have acquired (built, bought, or leased) recovery or recycling equipment and that they are complying with the applicable requirements. Equipment that is typically dismantled on-site before disposal (e.g., retail food refrigeration, chillers) has to have the refrigerant recovered in accordance with EPA's requirement for servicing. Equipment that typically enters the waste stream with the charge intact (e.g., motor vehicle air conditioners, household refrigerators and freezers, and room air conditioners) is subject to special safe disposal requirements.

Energy-efficient Products

There are several products for which DOE has published energy efficiency recommendations, establishing criteria for the top 25% technology, including EXIT SIGNS & ICE-CUBE MACHINES. There are also facility-related products which are part of the EPA "Energy Star" Program; a product with the "Energy Star" label meets the energy efficiency criteria for the top 25% in technology.

It is important to consider life-cycle costing when considering energy-efficient products. Where utility costs are low, the lifetime cost of operating a less expensive appliance that uses greater amounts of electricity may be less than purchasing a more expensive energy-efficient model.

Blue Line

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