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Simple Steps for Purchasing "Green"

There are many attributes that make a product or service environmentally preferable or "green". Following are some environmental considerations to help you make a green choice when purchasing goods or services. For more detailed information, see the Green California EPP Best Practices Manual, Section III Acquiring Environmentally Preferable Products.

  1. Buy Recycled Products
    • Items such as copy paper, file folders, ink and toner cartridges, note pads, envelopes, plastic and metal office supplies, furniture and other products, can be made with recycled content. When purchasing the above items, make sure to look for indicators that state the products contain "recovered materials" and/or "postconsumer materials."
    • Consider items that are recyclable and/or durable, reusable, or refillable rather than disposable.
  2. Environmentally Preferable Packaging
    • Select products with the least amount of packaging, or if needed, packaging made from cardboard or paper that can be easily recycled.
    • Switch from Styrofoam packaging and cups to biodegradable ones.
    • Consider buying larger quantity products or buying in bulk.
  3. Less Hazardous and Non-Toxic
    • Avoid purchasing products that contain petroleum-based solvents, acids, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, etc.
    • Read product labels and avoid those products labeled "poison" (highly toxic), "danger" (flammable, corrosive, toxic), "warning" (moderately toxic), or "caution" (mild/moderately toxic) and purchase the least hazardous brand.
    • Choose products that are water-based, bio-based, low-odor, low-emission, non-toxic, or meet a "green" certification such as Green Seal.
  4. Energy Efficient and Water Conserving
    • Look for the Energy Star Label when buying computers, copiers, fax machines, scanners, TV/VCR's, refrigerators, etc.
    • Choose products and services that conserve water such as low flow fixtures, drought tolerant plants, mulch and compost, etc.
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