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Green Purchasing Web Links

This page lists dozens of online resources related to environmentally preferable purchasing, grouped into the categories below. Click on a category or scroll down to browse all.

NOTE: This list does not represent all available sources for products and is not intended as a recommendation or endorsement for particular products or processes. Read our full disclaimer.
 
 

1. Resources Specific to Government & Business Purchasers

  • Guidelines for Buying Environmentally Preferable Products. A guide, developed by StopWaste, listing over 100 commercial products and services and services and the environmental attributes to consider when purchasing or specifying them. Examples of products covered include paper office supplies, office furnishings, and janitorial cleaning products. Available in PDF or Excel format.  
  • Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Model Policy & Implementation Guide, developed by StopWaste, as tools that can be adapted by local governments, institutions and businesses to adopt environmentally preferable purchasing practices.
  • ReScape California is a non-profit organization that promotes healthy, sustainable landscaping practices in the San Francisco Bay Area. They offer events, trainings, publications and other resources for landscape professionals, public agency staff and property owners. They also administer the Bay-Friendly Rated Landscape program, a third-party verified rating system for high performance commercial, public and multifamily residential landscapes. 
  • Alameda County and the General Services Agency are committed to sharing their resources and experiences to promote green purchasing in public agencies. Policies, success stories, bids, specifications and other resources are available. 
  • U.S. EPA Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program is a nationwide program that encourages and assists public agencies with the purchasing of environmentally preferable products and services.
  • U.S. EPA Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines are part of EPA's effort to promote the use of recycled products to federal agencies and others. Product fact sheets on this website list data, such as recycled content recommendations, for eight different types of products, including construction, landscaping, office (non-paper), paper, park and recreation, transportation, automotive and miscellaneous products.
  • State of California EPP (Environmentally Preferable Purchasing) Program & Buying Green Guide were developed by the Department of General Services. The web resources and Buying Green Guide can assist in finding and selecting environmentally preferable products.
  • CalRecycle (the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery) has many resources available on their website to help buy postconsumer recycled content products. Other buy recycled activities and resources include Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, Organics/Composting, Construction and Demolition Debris Recycling and Tire-Derived Products.
  • Responsible Purchasing Network is a non-profit organization established to help state and local governments and other large purchasers incorporate environmental considerations into their purchasing decisions. The website contains examples of government environmental purchasing policies and other purchasing resources. Note that some resources are available to members only.
  • Quantity Quotes is a free and easy-to-use tool that enables everyone, from multifamily building owners and managers to schools and universities to utilities, to easily purchase large quantities of green, ENERGY STAR  and WaterSense qualified products. Quantity Quotes helps connect purchasers with vendors to generate multiple bids quickly. Purchasers and suppliers communicate directly to negotiate discounted prices.
  • Green Seal is an independent, non-profit organization that sets environmental standards and certifies products that meet those standards. Green Seal standards cite international test methods for evaluating product performance and/or environmental attributes such as toxicity. Green Seal’s procedures conform to international standards for eco-labeling.
  • UL Environment (ULE) offers certification, validation and testing services for multiple environmental attributes. The Sustainable Product Guide lists third-party certified products that have achieved certification/validation by ULE.
  • SCS Global Services provides independent third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing, and standards development spanning a wide cross-section of industries such as green building, product manufacturing, food and agriculture, forestry, retail and more. The Certified Green Products Guide is an online directory for SCS certified green products.
  • SF Approved is an online directory of green products & services that meet San Francisco's health & environmental requirements. Developed as a tool for City purchasers, it also offers details on products' environmental and health impacts and guides for city staff, small businesses, homeowners, and large organizations.
  • King County, Washington, Environmental Purchasing Program is a local government program that has been in place for many years. On this website, King County shares their experience with environmental purchasing practices and lists a multitude of on-line resources.
  • U.S. Green Building Council is a non-profit, membership organization that works to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated by promoting buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. Their website has information about the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating Systems.
  • Forest Stewardship Council is a non-profit organization that certifies environmentally responsible, on-the-ground forest management practices, using rigorous standards developed by a broad group of stakeholders.
 

2. Paper Products

  • Environmentally Preferable Paper Office Products in Alameda County is a fact sheet listing a wide range of environmentally preferred paper products (recycled, tree-free, and processed chlorine-free). It includes local retail sources and on-line vendors.
  • Environmentally Preferable Janitorial Paper Supplies in Alameda County is a fact sheet listing environmentally preferable janitorial paper supplies, including towels, tissues, and napkins. It includes local distributors and stores. 
  • Shopper’s Guide to Home Tissue Products created by the Natural Resources Defense Council, lists residential tissue products to buy –and which ones to avoid—in an effort to protect ancient and endangered forests. Environmental criteria include the amount of recycled content and the bleaching process.
  • Forest Ethics, a nonprofit organization, works to determine which forests are endangered, and to identify corporations purchasing products from endangered forests, as well as those taking positive action.
  • Conservatree is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing assistance and in-depth information about environmentally sound papers and paper market developments. The website also offers specialized lists of recommended paper products for large scale and small-quantity purchasers.
 

3. Office & School Supplies

 

4. Appliances

  • ENERGY STAR is a program of the U.S. EPA to help individuals and businesses protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. Qualifying appliances, lighting and home electronic products are listed, as well as tips on home improvement and energy efficiency for new homes.
  • East Bay Municipal Utility District offers a variety of conservation services and programs for residential and non-residential customers in their service area, including rebates for high-efficiency toilets, water-conserving clothes washers and landscaping systems, as well as free conservation devices like low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators.
  • Pacific Gas & Electric offers rebate information on appliances, heating and cooling equipment, lighting and pool pumps and motors. The site includes energy-saving tools and tips to help homeowners evaluate energy costs and potential savings.
  • The Dublin San Ramon Services District, Zone 7 Water Agency, and Alameda County Water District provide water conservation services and programs for their service areas, including rebates for purchasing ultra low flow toilets, high efficiency clothes washers and certain landscaping equipment.
 

5. Lodging

  • California Green Lodging Program was originally created to help State employees travel “green,” but is also useful to other travelers. “Traveling green” helps reduce pollution and waste, promote greater energy efficiency, and support those facilities that are working to create a healthier and more productive environment for all Californians.
  • Green Hotels Association lists "green" member hotels whose managers have instituted programs that save water, save energy and reduce solid waste.
 

6. Fuel-Efficient Automobiles

  • GreenerCars.com by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), helps buyers select a vehicle that is friendly to the planet while meeting their transportation needs. Based on official emissions and fuel-economy tests, and other specifications reported by auto manufacturers, GreenerCars calculates a Green Score for each car, minivan, pickup, and SUV on the market.
  • HybridCars.com is part web journal, part online community, and part hybrid market research organization providing consumer information on the latest hybrid technology.
  • City Car Share is a Bay Area non-profit organization that provides convenient, affordable access to cars. The idea is to reduce individual car ownership, thereby improving the environment and quality of life in cities.
 

7. Promotional/Marketing Products

 

  • Promotional Product Solutions offers over 120 socially and environmentally responsible items ranging from pens and pencils to shirts and awards. The on-line store offers hundreds of items and can be searched by product category, price range and environmentally friendly criteria like recycled products.
  • Weisenbach Recycled Products sells recycled content products for awareness campaigns, promotions, and to prevent pollution. Items include awards made from recycled glass; funnels, spouts and containers for used oil; and recycled paperboard hand fans. The company is also a full-service commercial printer using soy-based inks.
  • Stan Miller & Associates LLC sells hundreds of promotional items. Their online product listing can be sorted for “Eco Friendly Products” or further sorted by price or USA-made, for example. Recycled Products listings and Compostable Products listings are also available.
  • Signature Marketing LLC offers an Eco Products line as well as traditional promotional products and gift items. Their on-line catalog allows searches by product category, price range and environmental criteria. An Eco-Friendly Products catalog offers products that are made from recycled materials, use sustainable resources, minimize the use of disposables, or have other environmental benefits.
  • Target Marketing Group offers a Green Product Catalog featuring promotional products that have recycled content, are recyclable, compostable, or organic, reduce waste or are energy efficient. Product categories include apparel, drink ware, games and toys, and many other products for the home, the office, the outdoors and tradeshows.
  • Amazing Recycled Products manufactures and sells products made from recycled materials. Their line of promotional and imprinted products includes coasters, visors, key tags, pencils and memo note holders, all made from recycled “yellow pages”, plastic, blue jeans, money or newspaper.
  • Quality Logo Products offers a large line of environmental products as well as traditional promotional products. Their on-line search function can be sorted by products, industry, holidays or causes.  Environmental products range from postconsumer recycled P.E.T. tote bags to 100% recycled fabric name tag lanyards and solar-powered flashlights, calculators, digital clocks and charger packs.
 

8. Shopping for Gifts

  • RecycleStore showcases innovative recycled-content products made from California waste materials. Products range from gifts, jewelry and promotional items to household goods and apparel. The database is maintained by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) and provides manufacturers’ contact information.
  • Holiday Gift Guide created by the Natural Resources Defense Council, offers a list of gift ideas for the environmentally conscious shopper.
  • Treehugger Holiday Gift Guide offers an eco-gift guide for the holidays. The website also offers gift ideas for year-round occasions.
  • Find more listings under Promotional/Marketing Products.
 

9. Shopping for Reused Items

  • RecycleWhere? is StopWaste’s on-line recycling and reuse outlet and service provider database. It contains information on “reuse” organizations and drop-off locations. Many of the locations also sell reused items. 
  • There are many other online exchange websites where reused items can be found, such as eBAY, craigslist, and FreeCycle.
 

10. Safer Household Products/Reducing Toxins

  • The Household Products Database, a part of the National Library of Medicine, links over 10,000 consumer product brands to health effects, using Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and allows scientists and consumers to research products based on chemical ingredients.
  • Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste Program is a program operated by the County of Alameda’s Environmental Health Department. It provides information on local, safe disposal of household hazardous waste as well as safer, home-made alternatives to toxic household products.
  • Seafood Watch is a program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium designed to raise consumer awareness about the importance of buying seafood from sustainable sources and limiting consumption of certain seafood, due to concerns about mercury or other contaminants. The user-friendly site recommends which seafood to buy or avoid, helping consumers make environmentally preferable choices.
 

11. Personal Care Products

  • Skin Deep, created by the Environmental Working Group, is an interactive personal care product safety guide. The searchable database features brand-by-brand safety rankings and in-depth information on over 69,000 shampoos, lotions, deodorants, sunscreens and other products from more than 2,200 brands.
  • The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics works to protect the health of consumers and workers by public advocacy and marketing campaigns towards the health and beauty industry to phase out the use of chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems, and to replace them with safer alternatives in cosmetics and personal care products.
 

12. Green Home Products and Practices 

  • StopWaste's Greener Homes section offers information to help residents make home improvements that save money, energy, water and other resources. 
  • GreenPoint Rated's Products and Pointers section has how-to articles plus listings for hundreds of green building products to help you make your home more beautiful, comfortable and healthy. Also check out their Green Home Calculator to find out how green your home is, how it compares to your neighbors' homes in California, and what you can do to make it greener.
  • Green Home Guide, a website provided by the U.S. Green Building Council, offers tips, Ask a Pro topics, and regional directories of green building professionals.  
 

13. Home Gardening

  • StopWaste's Gardening section has information about eco-friendly gardening practices, water conservation rebates, using sheet mulch to convert your lawn to a Bay-Friendly garden, and much more. 
  • ReScape California has additional resources for sustainable home gardening.
 

14. General Consumer Product Resources

  • Bay Area Green Business Program. Green Businesses use pollution prevention practices, conserve energy, water, and other resources, and minimize waste. Certified Green Businesses include auto repair shops, printers, wineries, hotels, landscapers, restaurants and other types of businesses. They can be identified by the Bay Area Green Business Program logo. The website also lists certified Green Businesses by county and type of business.
  • Responsible Shopper is a program of Green America that reports on major corporations’ practices regarding human rights, social justice and environmental responsibility, and provides guidance for consumers and investors to vote with their dollars for change.
  • National Green Pages is an annual directory of Green America listing socially and environmentally responsible businesses that provide green products and services.
  • The Center for a New American Dream offers consumers and businesses resources on reduce and shift their consumption to improve quality of life, protect the environment, and promote social justice. 
  • RecycleStore, a resource of the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), lists recycled-content products and their manufacturers for consumers and wholesale buyers.
  • GreenerChoices.org is a food safety and sustainability center provided by Consumer Reports that offers advice on food safety, nutrition and health. This site includes information on evaluating environmental labels on food, food buying guides, and special information for babies and kids.
 

15. Sample of Online Catalogs: Distributors of Home and Business Products 

With hundreds of websites offering environmentally preferable products, this list describes only a small sampling of online catalogs, in several different product categories.
  • The Green Home Store is an online resource for green products as well as a clearinghouse for advice and information on greening one’s home, business, or event.
  • Green Earth Office Supply sells a wide range of environmentally friendly office, school and food service supplies.
  • Amazing Recycled Products manufactures and sells recycled content products in a variety of categories, including architectural and landscaping, promotional, and plastic park furnishings.
  • Close the Loop offers recycled and environmentally friendly products to consumers, schools and businesses—everything from rubber mulch, fencing and tire swings to belts, pins and earrings.
  • Gaiam/Real Goods offers eco-friendly and organic products for health and fitness, green living and personal development.
  • EcoBaby Organics offers organic cotton baby clothes, bedding/bath, and stuffed and wooden toys.
  • Childsake offers nature and environmental books for children of all ages.
 
NOTE: The information on this page is provided as a public service by StopWaste, in an attempt to provide information on environmentally preferable products. StopWaste does not recommend or endorse any of the resources compiled here. The information listed is subject to change and does not represent all available sources for products. It is not a substitute for the exercise of sound judgment in particular circumstances and is not intended as a recommendation for particular products or processes. 
 
This page was last updated in July 2014.
 
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