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Environmentally Responsible Purchasing

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Environmentally Responsible Purchasing

The Office of State Procurement is committed to helping state agencies purchase environmentally preferable products that:

  • contain fewer toxic materials
  • minimize waste
  • contain recycled content
  • conserve energy and water
  • contain plant-based materials

Admin Biennial Report on OSP Purchasing 2007-2008
This report reviews the Department of Administration's key accomplishments and future goals pertaining to environmental purchasing, recovery of recyclables, waste reduction, and green building construction and remodeling.

Environmental News from the Department of Administration
Information about new environmental products and contracts, and other related news.

Minnesota Legislative and Executive Order Requirements
Highlights legislation related to environmentally preferable purchasing.

Minnesota Environmentally Preferable Goods and Services
Lists goods and services available through state contracts.

Product Experience/Case Studies
This links to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's web page. The site provides information on the cost, performance, and availability of environmentally preferable products as well as descriptions of experience using such products.

Recycled Content Purchasing Requirements for Agencies Utilizing Federal Funds
Specifies recycled products that federal agencies and other affected entities are required to buy.

Websites Related to Environmental Purchasing

For More Information
Provides details regarding whom to contact for more information related to this topic.

Environmental News From the Department of Administration

The Office of State Procurement is committed to helping state agenies purchase environmentally responsible products, including goods that: contain fewer toxic materials; minimize waste; contain recycled content; or conserve energy and water.

Environmental Codes

Ranking of Environmental & Performance for Cleaning Supplies (not currently available)

ALP Buyer's Quarterly Report, Recycled/Remanufactured/Used Products Purchased Form

ALP Buyer's Quarterly Report, Recycled/Remanufactured/Used Products Purchased Form

The title of the form for reporting the environmentally responsible purchases buyers make each quarter is:
ALP Buyer's Quarterly Environmental Purchasing Report

Minnesota Legislative and Executive Order Requirements

Recycled Office Paper
Unless a written exception is granted by OSP, State agencies must purchase office paper that is:

  • A minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled content paper; and
  • Certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

All Other Recycled Products
State agencies must buy products made with recycled material when the price does not exceed comparable nonrecycled products by more than 10 percent.

Less Toxic and Reusable Products
State agencies shall put special emphasis on using products that are less toxic and generate less waste.

Mercury Thermometers Prohibited
Effective January 1, 2002, thermometers that contain mercury can no longer be sold or distributed in the state. The law covers mercury-based fever thermometers, as well as those used for outdoor temperature readings and cooking.

Mercury Emissions Reduction, Product Bans, and Disposal Bans
Minnesota has taken a number of steps to keep mercury out of the environment, such as banning the sales of games, toys, and clothing containing mercury; and prohibiting the disposal of mercury-containing fluorescent lamps, thermostats, thermometers, switches, appliances, and medical or scientific instruments.

Printing Guidelines
Whenever practicable, public entities shall comply with the printing guidelines by choosing recyclable paper, reducing paper waste and selecting less toxic inks.

Reducing Air Pollution
Agencies must examine recommended options for reducing air pollution, then implement two or more options into the agency operations. The Implementation Guide from OEA assists agencies in this process.

Environmentally Preferable Goods and Services List

List of Environmentally Responsible Goods and Services

Product Experience/Case Studies

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Web Page

Recycled Content Purchasing Requirements for Agencies Utilizing Federal Funds

Under Section 6002 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Presidential Executive Order 13101, any federal, state or local agency meeting all of the following three criteria is subject to federal guidelines that require the agency to buy certain products with recycled content:

  • The product purchased has been designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a product that must contain recycled content; and
  • More than $10,000 were spent in the preceding year on the designated product; and
  • At least part of the monies spent on that product were appropriated with federal funds.

For example, if a state agency spends more than $10,000 a year on copy paper, and part of that money is from appropriated federal funds, that state agency must follow the EPA guidelines and buy 30 percent post-consumer recycled paper.

Here's an example involving a contractor hired by a local highway department. If the contractor spends more than $10,000 a year on traffic barricades, and the contractor is funded in part from federal money, that contractor must follow the EPA guidelines and buy 80 percent post-consumer recycled plastic traffic barricades.

Purchasers seeking current information on which products are subject to the federal guidelines may call the RCRA hotline at 800.424.9346 or visit the Federal Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG) Website. This site offers a checklist of products that must be specified with recycled content.

Examples of some of the designated products include: building insulation, polyester carpet, floor tiles, restroom dividers, compost, plastic trash bags, toner cartridges, printing and writing paper, paper towels, bathroom tissue, traffic cones, refined oil, and retread tires.

More recycled products will be added to this list as new products are proven to meet sufficient standards for performance, price and availability.

Federal Recycled Content Resources

Websites Related to Environmental Purchasing


The Carbohydrate Economy Clearinghouse (CEC)
From paints and inks to fuels and construction materials, this site provides comprehensive information on plant matter-based products.

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Guide
This online purchasing guide reviews "green" products, providing information on cost, performance, specifications, and availability.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Includes an online recycled products directory, case studies, and other resources.

Resource Recovery Office
This agency provides interagency waste reduction and recycling assistance.


King County, Washington's Recycled Product Procurement Program
Includes bid and contract specifications for recycled products and provides examples of departments using recycled products.

Massachusetts Environmentally Preferable Products Procurement Page
Describes environmental products available on state contracts, lists state agencies piloting various recycled products, and reports on Massachusetts' efforts to increase the purchase of environmentally preferable products.

State of Wisconsin Recycling Procurement Program
Features success stories, pilot and research projects, bid language, product specifications, and statutory provisions.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines
Includes recommended recycled-content percentages, vendor lists, product specifications, and technical information.

EPA's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program
Includes case studies, tools, and website links.

EPA's Energy Star Program
Contains information on energy efficient office equipment (e.g., computers, printers, copiers, faxes, exit signs, etc.).

For More Information

Do you have questions about any of the environmental products available on state contract? Do you have suggestions for new environmental products you would like to see added to state contracts?

If so, please contact any Acquisition Management Specialist.

Do you have questions about the cost, performance or availability of environmentally preferable products?

If so, contact your agency's environmental coordinator or the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency at 651.297.5518.

Do you have questions about recycling or waste reduction?

If so, contact the Resource Recovery Office at 651.296.2397 or via email:


You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to print or view PDF files.
Information found on this website can be made available in alternative formats, such as large print, Braille, or on tape, by calling 651.296.2600. Persons with a hearing or speech disability can contact us through the Minnesota Relay Service by dialing 711 or 1.800.627.3529.
The State of Minnesota is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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