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GreenStep City Best Practices Environmental Management

Sustainable Purchasing
no. 15

Adopt environmentally preferable purchasing policies and practices.
  • Cost/benefit calculators for paper, remanufactured toner cartridges, cleaning products, electronic equipment, and Energy Star products.
  • See also EPA environmental purchasing tools, including benefits' calculators. Added benefits of improved worker productivity and improved public health exist and have been documented for specific EPP products.
  • Ductile iron pipe for drinking water mains has stronger walls allowing a larger inside diameter reducing friction and thus saving energy. According to St. Cloud’s Pumping Cost Study (July 2014), the city's use of ductile iron pipe (certified under the SMaRT standard ) results in an annual savings of $210,530 compared to competing pipe, measuring power cost, pump efficiency, and head loss.
Step 3 recognition minimum for category A, B and C cities
All Category A, B and C cities are recognized upon completion of action 1.

Category A and B cities also complete at least one additional action for recognition.
Sustainable purchasing, also known as environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP), shifts city purchasing to procurement of goods and services that have a reduced effect on the natural environment and human health when compared to competing products and services that serve the same purpose. While life-cycle assessments offer the best metric for determining what is the most sustainable, product and service attributes are commonly used as a proxy, and include:
  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Reduced toxicity
  • Beneficial to indoor air quality
  • Water-conserving
  • Recycled-content
  • Minimized waste
  • Plant-based
  • Locally produced
  • Embodied energy/life-cycle greenhouse gas impact
greenstep advisor
Johanna Kertesz, Sustainable Purchasing Specialist, MN Pollution Control Agency: 651/757-2489, johanna.kertesz@state.mn.us, http://www.pca.state.mn.us/epp
connection to state Policy

  • Cities in Minnesota are required to use paper containing a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled content and follow a number of other environmentally preferable printing practices listed in MN Statute 16C.073 ( Environmentally Preferable Printing ).
  • The Next Generation Act of 2007 established Minnesota goals, including decreasing greenhouse gases and using electricity with a 25% mix of renewables by 2025.
  • Cities are able to purchase products coded with an environmentally beneficial attribute through Minnesota's Cooperative Purchasing Venture.