Overall, cost differences will depend on the product, its quality and the existing market conditions. There are environmentally preferable products that cost less than their conventional counterparts. For example, several recycled printing papers cost less than virgin papers. Recycled plastic trash can liners (for commercial use) cost less than virgin because the postconsumer plastic resin currently has a lower market price than virgin plastic resin. The price of re-refined motor oil is now comparable to virgin motor oil.
“Green” purchasing is no different from any other form of product evaluation usually done before a purchase is made, be it by governments, businesses or consumers. Environmental purchasing simply considers a greater range of product criteria. Departments may begin an environmental purchasing program by focusing initially on certain types of products or services and expanding to others as they gain experience.
Recycled products may contain either a percentage of materials collected from office/curbside recycling programs (postconsumer), a percentage of materials generated after the manufacture of a product but before it reaches the end-user (pre-consumer) and/or virgin materials. The combination of postconsumer and pre-consumer content provides the total recycled content. For example, recycled content copy paper with 30% postconsumer and 10% pre-consumer content would have 40% total recycled content.
Purchasers are encouraged to evaluate multiple environmental impacts of everyday products through their life cycle and to select products with attributes that minimize environmental and health risks. A product’s environmental attributes can include:
City of San Leandro Green Building Ordinance
City of San Leandro Construction and Demolition Debris Ordinance
Each school district in Alameda County contracts for their own garbage and recycling collection service and provides their own classroom recycling bin. StopWaste.Org's irecycle@school program provides the educational program support and indoor classroom signage material to support student's understanding and practice of the 4Rs.
REACH Ashland Youth Center is a state-of-the-art green facility developed and owned by Alameda County. The Bay-Friendly Rated landscape and LEED Platinum-rated building provide an inspiring, healthy environment for youth and reduce long-term environmental impacts.
In 2006, StopWaste.Org utilized a local consulting firm to analyze a year’s worth of waste management plan data submitted to several Alameda County cities to develop estimates for C&D waste generation based on construction project type.
The Zero Net Energy Center (ZNEC) in San Leandro is a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 595 and the Northern California National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). Completed in 2013 as a retrofit of an outdated commercial building, the 46,000-square-foot facility is the largest building in California that generates enough renewable energy on-site to meet its own electricity demand.