Green Purchasing and State Contracts

Environmentally Preferred (Green) Purchasing for State Agencies

Green Purchasing is the procurement of products and services that have a reduced effect on human health and the environment over their life cycle when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose.

Buying products made from recovered material supports recycling markets by ensuring that the material collected in recycling programs is used again in the manufacture of new products. The practice also:

•    conserves natural resources;
•    reduces waste disposed of in landfills;
•    minimizes environmental impacts such as pollution
•    eliminates or reduces toxins; and
•    reduces greenhouse gas emissions. 

State government – with all of its purchasing power – has the opportunity to be a key player. 
South Carolina implemented an environmentally preferred purchasing policy in 2009 to assist state agencies and other local governments. Download available below. 

S.C. Environmentally Preferred Purchasing Policy

The S.C. Solid Waste Policy and Management Act of 1991 supports green purchasing with two specific requirements. It: 

  • obliges state agencies and all subdivisions using state funds to procure recycled-content products and material as well as products and material that can be recycled where practicable; and  
  • provides a 7.5 percent price preference for recycled-content products in order to reach a procurement goal for each agency that at least 25 percent of all product purchases contain recycled-content material.

The State Fiscal Accountability Authority (SFAA) provides detailed information and resources on green purchasing for state agencies. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a fundamental resource for green purchasing. The EPA’s Comprehensive Procurement Guideline (CPG) program is part of the agency’s sustainable materials management initiative that promotes a system approach to reducing material use and the associated environmental impacts of the material’s life cycle. A key component of the CPG program is a list of designated products and accompanying recommendations for recovered content. Currently, 61 products are listed in eight categories.