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Procurement Services
1201 Main St., Suite 600
Columbia, SC 29201

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Green Purchasing

Environmentally Preferred (Green) Purchasing Policy Logo To view the Environmentally Preferred (Green) Purchasing Policy, click here

Green Purchasing Information

What Is Environmentally Preferred (Green) Purchasing?

Environmentally Preferred Purchasing is the procurement of products and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment over the life cycle of the products and services when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose.

Some samples of these products and services include:

  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Biodegradable warewashing chemicals
  • Recycled office / copy paper
  • Requesting soybean based ink on print jobs
  • Remanufactured office furniture
  • Remanufactured biobased toner cartridges
  • Recycled poly can liners (garbage bags)
  • Office recycling services

What About Recycled Product Purchasing?

Finding products made from recycled materials can be easy. Try to select products with the highest recycled content, if the product can be competitively sourced.

Extensive help is available from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has issued a set of guidelines called the Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG). For a complete list of products and the EPA’s recommended recycled-content level for each product, visit the CPG program website:


The CPG designates items that must contain recycled content when purchased by federal agencies, or by government contractors using appropriated federal funds. In some cases, state and local governments must also follow the recycled-content guidelines when purchasing certain items using federal funds.

For each category, the EPA recommends content levels for recycled-content products. These levels are divided into the recommended percentages of postconsumer content and total recovered materials content. Understanding each type of content can help you make the best purchasing decisions:

  • Preconsumer material means materials generated in manufacturing and converting processes, such as manufacturing scrap and trimmings or cuttings. Preconsumer material refers only to scraps created after the original manufacturing process, but before a finished product reaches its intended end use as a consumer item.
  • Post consumer material means a material or finished product that has served its intended use and has been diverted or recovered from waste destined for disposal, having completed its life as a consumer item.
  • Recovered material means waste materials and byproducts that have been recovered or diverted from solid waste, but this does not include materials and byproducts generated from, and commonly reused within, an original manufacturing process. Preconsumer material and postconsumer material are each subsets of recovered material.

Certification and Resource Organizations:


Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)

EPA Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines

GREENGUARD Certification

Green Seal

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)

National Association of Counties Green Purchasing Toolkit

South Carolina
State Fiscal Accountability Authority
Procurement Services
1201 Main Street, Suite 600 | Columbia, SC 29201