Pushing Procurement

Cities and States Seize the Time With New Initiatives

Highlights in recent green purchasing efforts around the country include these, part of an extensive Center for a New American Dream listing at www.newdream.org/procure/activities.html: Santa Monica, California, which is buying 100 percent renewable electricity for all city facilities, with a net reduction of greenhouse gases totaling 13,672 tons annually
Lee County, Florida, which uses an environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) policy to eliminate hazardous wastes (including anything containing high levels of volatile organic compounds) from its vehicle maintenance operations. Among the products now off-limits are aerosol spray cans and brake cleaners with chlorinated solvents
The State of Vermont, where a "Clean State Initiative" is endeavoring to purchase only chlorine-free paper and textile products because of concerns about the environmental impact of dioxin (a byproduct of chlorine bleaching). Similar initiatives exist in San Francisco and Oakland, California
The City of Berkeley, California is running its recycling collection vehicles on 100 percent biodiesel fuel made from recycled cooking oil. The city’s Solid Waste Management District plant debris trucks also use the fuel—which cuts down on the release of dangerous particulate matter
Los Angeles now buys 14 percent of its electricity—amounting to some 70 million kilowatt-hours annually—from clean, renewable sources. The city’s airports are also buying green power
Not to be outdone, San Francisco adopted a Clean Air Program in 1993 that encourages city agencies to use mass-transit and to purchase alternative-fueled vehicles. The city also established a green building program that resulted in an estimated $6 million in savings in 1999
New York City operates a municipal fleet of more than 300 hybrid-electric Toyota Prius vehicles, which get more than 50 miles per gallon
By adopting energy efficiency measures, Montgomery County in Maryland saved $2.3 million and the emission of more than 7,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases
In Ohio, state contracts include provisions for tree-free papers made of seaweed, U.S. currency, bananas, old denim, tobacco leaves and coffee beans.