City of Los Angeles Environmentally Preferable Purchasing
Is It EPP?
It can be difficult to know if you are actually buying an item that would be considered Environmentally Preferable. So here are a few attributes to look for when making purchases:
a. A carcinogen is a substance that may cause cancer in humans or animals.
a. A group of chemicals used in coolants, such as air conditioners and refrigerants, and also in propellants, such as aerosol sprays. CFCs are proven to deplete the ozone layer, thus contributing to climate change.
a. Goods that can be used more than once and withstand long use, wear, and decay.
- Energy Efficient
a. An electronic or appliance in the upper 25% of efficiency for all similar products or products labeled “Energy Star.”
- Heavymetal free (no lead, mercury, etc.)
a. Heavy metals are a type of hazardous waste that can damage organisms at low concentrations and tend to accumulate in the food chain. Negative impacts include ignitability, corrosiveness, reactivity, and/or toxicity.
- Less Hazardous
a. Hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it dangerous or potentially harmful to human health or the environment. Hazardous waste takes many physical forms and may be solid, semi-solid, liquid, or even contained gases. Negative characteristics of hazardous waste include ignitability, corrosiveness, reactivity, and/or toxicity.
- Low toxicity
a. Toxicity is the capacity of a chemical to do harm to an organism (not mechanically). This can occur both acutely (shortly after a single exposure) and chronically (after long-term, multiple exposures). Can lead to cancer and other internal organ damage.
- Low VOC
a. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of VOCs are up to ten times higher indoors than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products including paints, cleaning supplies, pesticides, ink, toner, and permanent markers.
- Minimize Virgin Materials
a. Virgin materials are newly harvested or mined raw materials used in manufacturing. These materials are new to the supply chain and therefore, have not been reused or recycled.
- Rapidly renewable materials
a. Products or materials that regenerate quicker than the demand for the products, such as bamboo and cork. Rain forest hardwood is not rapidly renewable and therefore, should not be used in the manufacturing of furniture.
b. Sustainable Schools - Renewable Materials Link
a. Products that are restored by cleaning, repairing, recovering, and reusing the item for its original intended use.
- PBT Free
a. PBT (Persistent Bioaccumulative and Toxic) pollutants are chemicals that are persistent in the environment, bioaccumulate in the food chain, and are toxic to the environment and human health. These chemicals are especially harmful because they transfer easily through air, water, and land.
- Recyclable or Recycled Content
a. Ability to be recycled: the reusing of materials, in its original or changed form, to prevent waste from going to a landfill. Recycled content: new products made from previously used/recycled materials.
- Reduced Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions
a. GHGs are both naturally occurring and human-made gases in Earth’s atmosphere that prevent heat from escaping into space. Examples include carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxides. The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, and deforestation, has caused the concentrations of GHGs to increase significantly in the Earth’s atmosphere.
- Reduced Packaging
a. Look for products with packaging that eliminate toxic constituents, use less material, make packaging more reusable, use more recycled content, and/or make it more readily recyclable
a. The ability to improve or replace products for increased usefulness without purchasing a whole new product.
a. Water efficiency is the smart use of our water resources through water-saving technologies and simple steps we can all take around the house. Using water efficiently will help ensure reliable water supplies today and for future generations.
Note: At this time, the City of Los Angeles does not have a program that accepts biodegradable or compostable plastics.
- Biobased or Biodegradable
- The ability of a substance to be broken down physically and/or chemically by microorganisms. For example, many chemicals, food scraps, cotton, wool, and paper are bio-degradable; plastics and polyester generally are not. Biobased products are made with natural/biodegradable substances.
- To convert to compost
- Biodegradable/organic materials. Compost is decomposed organic material that is produced when bacteria in soil break down garbage and biodegradable trash, making organic fertilizer. Making compost requires turning and mixing and exposing the materials to air. Gardeners and farmers use compost for soil enrichment.