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Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EP3)

“Environmentally Preferable Products and Services means products and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance, or disposal of the product.” (from Executive Order 13101, September 14, 1998, Greening the Government through Waste Prevention, Recycling and Federal Acquisition)

A History of Environmental Leadership

The City of San José has been recognized for leadership in implementing environmental programs and procedures. City environmental services, such as wastewater treatment, recycled water delivery, recycling and garbage collection, energy, and water conservation, have received awards for innovation and excellence. City employees incorporate positive environmental practices through the Recycle@Work program, the reuse of surplus equipment, and the purchase of recycled content products, especially paper.

In 1990, the City Council adopted a Council Policy on “Source Reduction and Recycling Procurement,” which was innovative at the time and comprehensive in the way it addresses the use of recycled paper. More recently, in September 2001, the City Council adopted a policy that addresses Environmentally Preferable Purchasing. Read the April 9, 2008 press release.

The City of San José received a Green California Leadership Award for its Environmentally Preferable Procurement Program in a ceremony at the 2008 Green California Summit and Exposition in Sacramento.

Policy Objectives

The primary purpose of the EP3 policy is to minimize negative environmental impacts by ensuring that the City uses services and products that:

  • Reduce toxicity
  • Conserve natural resources, materials, and energy
  • Maximize recyclability and recycled content

By considering environmental impacts in public purchasing, the City of San José can reduce its burden on the local and global environment, remove unnecessary hazards from its operations, protect public health, reduce costs and liabilities, and potentially improve the environmental quality of the region.

Additionally, EP3 supports the market for recycled goods and other environmentally preferable products and services.

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