N.C. Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing

EPP Policies

Environmentally Preferable Procurement (EPP) does not have to be difficult.  EPP considers the same factors all purchasers are familiar with: price, performance and availability.  EPP just takes into account a few new attributes (the number of attributes considered is in the hands of the purchaser).  Green purchasing gives purchasers an opportunity to make environmentally responsible decisions that will have a positive effect.  Particularly in purchasing recycled content products, purchasers can influence recycling markets and make waste materials a commodity by providing a new end use for materials. Purchasers can influence markets and are the driving force in the demand for products. Government, education, and industry purchasing specifications are often the primary influence on manufacturers and their processes and products.

You don't have to be an environmentalist or a scientist to evaluate your purchases or purchasing procedures, and green them. Though a vast amount of attributes can be considered when attempting to purchase green products, no single evaluation procedure exists to help procure the most environmentally preferable product.  The opportunities are bountiful and can be simplified or exhausted depending on the organization's goals. Some organizations create committees to green their purchases.  They may create workgroups that consider various attributes for each product, have product users evaluate performance, and create standards for green products.  Others organizations have a more informal approach, leaving procurement decisions to the purchasers themselves, who may use a similar evaluation procedure, or may instead chose to green products that are most available, such as recycled content.  Some purchasers recognize EPP opportunities on their own and take the leap into green purchasing simply because it is the right thing to do.

EPP is a growing field, and from whatever perspective you're approaching it, you don't have to test the waters alone. Available resources include the the policies found below, as well as information on the EPP links page. 

Model EPP and Sustainability Policies

Check out the environmentally preferable purchasing procedures your peers have established within local and state government. Visit the public sector to see the sustainability programs they are developing to keep up with public demand.  These examples, along with this sample generic purchasing policy, can be used as templates when creating a policy for your own agency.  Also, share your policies with us to help build some model examples, or call Rachel Eckert at (919) 715-6505 to discuss, develop or expand your policy.

Local Government examples

University examples

Public Sector examples

If you already have a purchasing policy and would like to share it with your peers, please e-mail a copy.  To assist others in the development and implementation of a policy, please also consider the following questions:

  • Who or what has been your greatest asset when it came to implementing your policy?
  • How did you or your staff work to implement these policies on a broad scale? What were some of the tactics that you used?
  • Do you feel that having the policy in place has helped you to succeed in terms of buy recycled initiatives throughout your organization? Why or why not?
  • What would you do differently if you were starting all over again and trying to implement a buy recycled policy?
  • What have been the greatest challenges when it comes to getting people to buy recycled? How did you overcome these?


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