STEP 3. Implementing an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy

Audience: Procurement Professionals, Sustainability Professionals, Environmental Advocates, Community Members and Leaders

Focus: Addressing priority products and chemicals of concern

Securing some near-term sustainable procurement wins will help create momentum and demonstrate value. There are a variety of options for low-hanging fruit related to safer chemicals and products. Our focus is on making it as easy as possible for procurement staff to address the issue by providing ready to use contract language and specifications. A number of these example specifications also cover issues related to recycled content, energy use reduction, and zero waste goal.

Procurement Guides & Specifications

Building Products and More

Healthy Building Network's HomeFree Database

HomeFree raises awareness of toxic building materials and their associated health hazards. The database can help you make informed decisions to procure less toxic building products.

Healthier Buildings Guide 

Version 1: October 2015. A public procurement guide to safer products for new construction and existing buildings. 

Building Clean

Database to find local, energy efficient products. 

Child Care

Child Care Checklist

Getting it right from the start. A checklist for new child care providers to avoid common sources of toxic chemicals.

Cleaning Products

Guidance to Achieve Safer Chemicals Challenge for Green Cleaning 

Version 2.0 December 2016. This document provides guidance for hospitals working to meet the requirements of the Green Cleaning goal of the Healthier Hospitals Safer Chemical Challenge


EPEAT for Procurement

EPEAT is a global ecolabel program for electronics. The Green Electronics Council managest the program which provides independent verification of manufacturers’ sustainability claims. The EPEAT online Registry lists sustainable products from many different manufacturers. EPEAT for Purchasers has many other resources for municipal, institutional, and state purchasers. 


Healthy Flooring Guidance for Manufacturers

November 2018. Environmental attributes for healthy flooring in healthcare.

Healthy Flooring Criteria

November 2018. Condensed 2-page guide for environmental attributes for healthy flooring. 

Resilient Flooring Technical Specifications

Resilient (hard surface) flooring technical specifications for use in Invitations to Bid and Request for Proposals created by Center for Environmental Health. 

Carpet Technical Specifications 

Carpeting technical specifications for use in Invitations to Bid and Request for Proposals created by Center for Environmental Health. 

Healthy Flooring Purchasing Guide

December 2019. Guide for purchasing healthier flooring created by Center for Environmental Health. 

Food Service Products

Healthier Food Serviceware Choices

Single-use food containers are often treated with chemicals known as PFAS (per and polyfluoroalkyl substances) to make them water and grease resistant. This infographic provides recommendations for PFAS-Free foodware options.

Center for Environmental Health's Database of Single-Use Food Service Ware Products Tested for Fluorinated Additives

Updated December 21, 2018. Table formatted list of plates, bowls & soup containers, clamshell and take-out containers, food trays, cups, lids, and straws.

Purchasing Safer Compostable Food Service Ware 

How to avoid fluorinated chemicals in compostable service ware

Food Service Containers and Wrappers

State of New York specifications for foodservice containers and wrappers.

Center for Environmental Health Report: Avoiding Hidden Hazards

A Purchaser's Guide to Safer Foodware

Single-Use Food Service Utensils Specifications

State of New York specifications on single-use foodware.


Guidance to Achieve Healthier Hospitals Safer Chemical Challenge for Healthy Interiors

December 2015. This document provides guidance for institutions and suppliers wishing to meet the requirements for the Healthy interiors goals of the Healthier Hospitals Safer Chemicals Challenge.

NASPO Guide to Environmentally Preferable Furniture

This guide, developed by the State of MN, Clean Water Action MN, and the Center for Environmental Health, will help furniture purchasers identify healthier furniture options without the use of formaldehyde, VOCs, antimicrobials, flame retardant chemicals, PVC, or fluorinated chemicals.

NASPO Furniture Products Database 2018

A database of environmentally preferable furniture products created as part of the State of Minnesota's Participating Agreement to join the NASPO office furniture contract led by the State of Utah. 

Pest Management

Pest Management in Outdoor Spaces

New York State specifications for pest management in outdoor spaces.

Pest Management in Indoor Spaces

New York State specifications for pest management in indoor spaces.

Product Packaging

State of New York Model Packaging Specifications

The actual packaging that a product comes in is important to consider as well in terms of purchasing. The State of New York has model packaging specifications to consider.

Sources of a variety of specifications and lists of products

San Francisco Approved 

This website lists many different products in a diverse array of product categories that meet the City of San Francisco's model health and environmental requirements. 

New York State EO 4 Approved Specifications

New York State offers many specifications that meet their environmentally preferable purchasing policy via their website. 

Turf Maintenance and Lawn Care

New York State EO 4 Approved Specifications

New York State's approved sustainable procurement specifications for turf and ornamental management. 

NOFA Standards for Organic Lawn Care

6th Edition: 2017. Principles and standards of NOFA Organic Lawn Care Program. 

San Francisco Approved

Fertilizers that meet the city of San Francisco's model health and environmental requirements.