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Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP)

Learn how Environmentally Preferable Purchasing helps your department and the environment.

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) is the procurement of items that have minimized or reduced environmental effects. The purpose of EPP is to give preference to environmentally preferred products whenever possible.

The University of California Office of the President has included EPP in its sustainable practices policy guidelines (PDF). These guidelines include goals and implementation procedures.

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  • Environmental
    • Reduces and prevents waste
    • Reduces resource use
    • Reduces pollution and toxins (i.e. greenhouse gas emissions)
    • Maintains biodiversity, a measure of the health of our environment
  • Financial
    • Reduces material and utility costs
    • Reduces waste disposal costs
    • Reduces operating, maintenance, and replacement costs
  • Institutional
    • Provides leadership opportunities to promote shifting to greener markets
    • Supports UC sustainability strategy


  • When you're thinking about purchasing an item, consider the product's:
    • Initial cost and maintenance costs
    • Necessity at the time of purchase
    • Energy efficiency, use of resources
    • Recycled content
    • Durability
    • Manufacturing, packaging, and transportation
    • Toxicity
    • Disposal or reuse/ take-back programs
    • Total cost of ownership, not just the purchase price

Buying EPP products

  • Contracted commodities: To stretch your department's dollars and purchase EPP products, take advantage of UC's Strategic Sourcing initiative. Strategic Sourcing requires suppliers to offer products that:
    • Include recycled content
    • Are energy efficient
    • Provide reduced content
    • Provide recycle and disposal programs
  • Non-contracted commodities: Acquire EPP products by using the following guidelines:
    1. Develop EPP specifications by creating specific performance expectations and requirements of the product. Consider:
      • Why do you need the product?
      • How will the product be used?
      • Is the product hazardous?
      • Is it reusable or durable?
      • Is it made from recycled materials? Do we need a new product when the recycled version is just as good?
      • What happens to the product at the end of its life? Can it be recycled? Will the manufacturer take the product back? Will the product need special disposal?
      • Does it conserve energy or water?
      • What is needed to properly maintain and/or operate the product?
      • Have the product's environmental attributes been certified by a non-biased, widely-accepted source?
    2. Search EPP product databases


These links provided material for this page. Use them for more detailed information on EPP.

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