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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.
  • Alameda County's General Services Agency is committed to sharing their resources and experiences to promote green purchasing in public agencies. Policies, success stories, bids, specifications and other resources are available. 
  • CalRecycle has many resources available on their website to help buy postconsumer recycled content products.
  • State of California EPP Program & Buying Green Guide, developed by the Department of General Services can assist in finding and selecting environmentally preferable products.
  • The West Coast Climate & Materials Management Forum's Climate Friendly Purchasing Toolkit provides guidance, strategies, and resources for governments to reduce the GHG emissions through their supply chain.
  • U.S. EPA Sustainable Marketplace: Greener Products and Services 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 list data, such as recycled content recommendations, for different types of products, including construction, landscaping, office (non-paper), paper, park and recreation, transportation, automotive and miscellaneous 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.
  • 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.
  • Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support and recognize purchasing leadership that accelerates the transition to a prosperous and sustainable future.
  • Green Seal is a 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. 
  • UL Environment (ULE) offers certification, validation and testing services for multiple environmental attributes. The SPOT UL website lists third-party certified products that have achieved certification/validation by ULE.
  • SCS Global Services' Certified Green Products Guide is an online directory for green products that have SCS Global Services' independent third-party environmental and sustainability certification. 
  • U.S. Green Building Council 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. See the "Find Products" area of their website to find FSC certified products for consumers, builders, and purchasers.
  • King County, Washington, Environmental Purchasing Program is a local government program that shares their experience with environmental purchasing practices and lists a multitude of on-line resources.
 

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.
  • 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. Travel & Lodging

  • California Green Lodging Program was originally created to help State employees travel “green,” but is also useful to other travelers. 
  • 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. 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.
 

7. Promotional/Marketing Products

 

8. Shopping for Gifts

  • Treehugger offers an eco-gift guides for the holidays and other occasions. 
 

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. You must use the word "reuse" and the product type in the search field. 
  • 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 shampoos, lotions, deodorants, sunscreens and other products.
  • 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. 
  • GoodGuide has rated over 75,000 products in personal care, household and babies & kids based on their composition and helps consumers find healthier options. 
  • 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.
 

13. Home Gardening

  • StopWaste's Gardening section has information about eco-friendly gardening practices, selecting the right plants, using sheet mulch to convert your lawn to a Bay-Friendly garden, and much more. 
  • ReScape California has additional resources for sustainable home gardening such as how to find a Bay-Friendly Qualified Landscaper.
 

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. 
  • National Green Pages is a directory listing socially and environmentally responsible businesses that provide green products and services.
  • GreenerChoices.org is a food safety and sustainability center provided by Consumer Reports that offers advice on food safety, nutrition and health including information on evaluating environmental labels. 
 
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 November 2018.
 
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