Environmentally Preferable Products

“Environmentally preferable” means products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. Under its Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Program, EPA has developed recommendations of non-federal specifications, standards, and ecolabels to help federal purchasers identify and procure greener (i.e., environmentally preferable) products. In doing so, the program supports efficiency in federal operations by giving federal procurement officials a convenient and streamlined way to make sense of over 460 environmental performance standards and ecolabels currently in the global marketplace.

Requirements and Policy

Federal Acquisition Regulation

FAR 23.703 requires that agencies employ acquisition strategies that affirmatively implement the following environmental objectives:

  • Maximize the utilization of environmentally preferable products and services (based on EPA-issued guidance).
  • Promote energy-efficiency and water conservation.
  • Eliminate or reduce the generation of hazardous waste and the need for special material processing.
  • Promote the use of nonhazardous and recovered materials.
  • Realize life-cycle cost savings.
  • Promote cost-effective waste reduction when creating plans, drawings, specifications, standards, and other product descriptions authorizing material substitutions, extensions of shelf-life, and process improvements.
  • Promote the use of biobased products.
  • Purchase only plastic ring carriers that are degradable.

FAR 23.704 requires that Contracting Officers, when acquiring electronic products, purchase EPEAT-registered electronic products (unless an exception applies or the product will not be cost effective over the life of the product).

Executive Order

Executive Order (E.O.) 13834 Efficient Federal Operations requires that agencies acquire, use, and dispose of products and services, including electronics, in accordance with statutory mandates for purchasing preference, FAR requirements, and other applicable Federal procurement policies. The E.O. implementing instructions states that agencies should prioritize products and services that meet more than one of the applicable requirements and are encouraged to procure products and services in a cost-effective manner that advance achievement of energy and environmental performance goals.

Find and Purchase

The EPA has issued Recommendations of Standards and Ecolabels for Federal Green Purchasing to help federal purchasers efficiently and effectively identify and procure environmentally sustainable products and services. The recommendations are organized into six product categories, including Cafeteria, Construction, Custodial, Electronics, Grounds/Landscaping, and Office/Furniture.

Environmentally preferable products and services, including EPEAT-registered products, are available for purchase through the GSA Multiple Award Schedule and other government-wide contract vehicles at GSA Advantage!® and GSA Global Supply™.

Last Reviewed: 2020-11-23