US Federal Goverment

Federal Government Benefits from Purchasing Environmentally Responsible Cleaning Products


Greening the Government through Leadership in Environmental Management


Section 101. Federal Environmental Leadership. The head of each Federal agency is responsible for ensuring that all necessary actions are taken to integrate environmental accountability into agency's day-to-day decision making and long-term planning processes, across all agency missions, activities, and functions. Consequently, environmental management considerations must be a fundamental and integral component of Federal Government policies, operations, planning, and management. The head of each Federal agency is responsible for meeting the goals and requirements of this order.

According to this executive order (Part 2, Goals, Sections 204 Release Reduction and 205 Use Reduction), there is a mandate to achieve a 40% objective in Release Reduction and a 50% objective in Use Reduction at government buildings facilities by December 31, 2006. Purchasing environmentally responsible cleaning products is an important step in promoting clean, healthy buildings.

EPA was given the responsibility of implementing the executive order and developing regulations to ensure compliance with the order. After a long process, EPA issued a guiding document "Greening Your Purchase of Cleaning Products - A Guide for Federal Purchasers."

This guide summarizes "Environmentally Preferable Purchasing", or "EPP." EPP seeks the overall best value, taking into account price competitiveness, availability, regulatory requirements, performance, and environmental impact. Because purchasers typically have clear sources of information on procurement and regulatory requirements and well-established methods for evaluating price and performance, the US EPA EPP Program has developed these purchasing guides to help government purchasers consider environmental factors in the EPP equation. EPA realizes that there are not universal answers for all scenarios and that purchasers must take into account local conditions when weighing the various attributes of a particular product. Please note that EPA is not endorsing any of the products, services, or organizations described in the guides, and have not verified information provided by these organizations. For more information about the EPP Program history, tools, and resources, please visit

The five EPP Principles:

  • Include environmental factors as well as traditional considerations of price and performance as part of the normal purchasing process.
  • Emphasize pollution prevention early in the purchasing process.
  • Examine multiple environmental attributes throughout a product's or service's life cycle.
  • Compare relative environmental impacts when selecting products and services.
  • Collect and base purchasing decisions on accurate and meaningful information about environmental performance.

For more information, go to the five guiding principles on EPA's EPP Web site at

NCL encourages government agencies to support greening efforts by purchasing products that are in the Earth Sense® Program or carry the Earth Sense® Seal of Assurance.