Best Practice Action Detail

Best Practice Action 15.8

GreenStep City Best Practices: Environmental Management
Sustainable Purchasing No. 15

Adopt environmentally preferable purchasing policies and practices to improve health and environmental outcomes.

Best Practice Action 8

Use national green standards/guidelines for purchasing/investments such as cleaning products, furniture, flooring/coatings.



  • See a number of product categories on the CPV and links to national standards, including:
    • Overall: 
      • SMaRT Consensus Sustainable Product Standards - provides substantial global benefits for the world's products with Environmental, Social, & Economic criteria including flooring, furniture, lighting, pipes, exterior products, electronics, and more
      • UL ECOLOGO / GREENGAURD - certifies products and services that are verified for reduced environmental impact in the following categories: materials, energy, manufacturing & operations, health & environment, product performance & use, product stewardship & innovation. Standards include buildings products, cleaning products & disinfectants, electronics, paper & plastic, and more. 
      • Cradle to Cradle - guides designers and manufacturers through a continual improvement process that looks at a product through five quality categories: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social fairness. Includes products such as paper, textiles, cleaning products, furnishings, personal care, and more. 
    • Interiors: 
      • BIFMA Furniture Sustainability Standard - sponsors the development and maintenance of furniture safety, performance, and sustainability standards that impact people's lives.
      • Greenhealth - approves environmentally preferred products that meet Health Care Without Harm's sustainability criteria and includes flooring and furnishings. 
      • Carpet Standards from the Carpet and Rug Institute. Carpet and flooring on state contract C-432(5) must meet specific sustainability standards
      • Report WaterSense under BPA 15.4
    • Chemicals/Toxins: 
      • GreenSeal - develops standards for and certifies green cleaning and floor maintenance products; low-toxicity hand soap and paint; and environmentally preferable janitorial paper products. 
      • GREENGUARD - see UL ECOLOGO above. Includes cleaning and maintenance products. 
      • US EPA's Safer Choice - certifies low-toxicity products such as hand soaps, furniture and metal polish, laundry and dish detergents, specialty cleaning products, and more.
    • Wood/ bio-based Products: 
      • BPI Compostable (Biodegradable Products Institute) - certifies that products with “biodegradable” claims—ranging from compostable bags to food serviceware to packaging—will safely break down in a typical commercial or municipal composting facility.
      • FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) - certifies wood and paper products derived from sustainably managed forests and/or that reduces wood consumption. 
      • USDA Biobased - certifies products such as printing inks, lubricants, food serviceware, and other products made with a minimum percentage of plant-based material. 
      • USDA Organic food standard
      • Report recycled paper under BPA 15.1.
      • Report PIM/Green Printing under BPA 15.6
    • Energy: 
      • Report ENERGY STAR (appliances, lighting, and electronics) and EPEAT (electronics) under BPA 15.1.
      • Report Green-e (renewable energy and carbon offset products) under BPA 15.2.
  • See standards, specifications, policies and more for cleaners from the Responsible Purchasing Network.


1 star List the categories for which the city has adopted standards/guidelines: wood products / bio-based products (including compostable serviceware; organic food; cleaning products; less/non-toxic pesticides/herbicides; paints, coatings and adhesives; carpets, flooring; furniture (especially remanufactured). Report ENERGY STAR, EPEAT, and paper under BPA 15.1, WaterSense under BPA 15.4, PIM/Green Printing under BPA 15.6, street lighting/traffic signal purchasing under BPA 4.2; vehicles under BP 13.
2 star Report the environmental/cost benefits of using purchasing standards; move city banking to community banks and credit unions; facilitate employee support for organizations that protect, conserve and restore Minnesota’s environment via payroll deductions.
3 star Shift investments/pension funding from fossil fuels to renewables; specify ductile iron pipe for city drinking water system.

Who's doing it

Coon Rapids - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2020
Implementation details:
The City's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Guidelines recommend that the city purchase cleaning products that meet the Green Seal, EcoLogo and/or US EPA Design for the Environment cleaning product standards.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Olivia Dorow Hovland (City Staff) | | 763-767-6458
Maplewood - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed:
Implementation details:
In Maplewood's Environmental Purchasing Policy, it specifies the use of state and national green standards/guidelines for purchasing cleaning products, paints, coatings and adhesives, carpets, and paper products.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File:
For more information contact:
Shann Finwall (City Staff) | | 651-249-2304
Mendota Heights - 1 star
Date action report first entered:
Date of last report update:
Year action initially completed: 2024
Implementation details:
Mendota Heights purchasing guidelines instruct staff to purchase cleaning products that meet the Green Seal, EcoLogo, and/or U.S. EPA Design for the Environment standards.

The city also tries to purchase used office furniture and technology where available. A recent example is the purchase of 6 used cubicles and desks from West Metro Solutions, a local company that sells used office furniture, diverting it from landfill.
Outcome measures/metrics/money saved:
Descriptive File: view file
For more information contact:
Courtney Selstad (City Staff) | | 952-457-1735