County implements new ‘Green Purchasing’ policy

The County’s new “green purchasing” policy establishes baseline criteria that employees must use when assessing a particular purchase
Mar 21, 2013

In a step to increase environmental responsibility, Snohomish County has rolled out new requirements for purchasing “green” products and services, including construction.

Snohomish County spends almost $300 million annually in goods and services. Now all expenditures must take into account whether environmentally preferable options are available at an equitable price.

Chapter 3 of Snohomish County Code now includes an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing and Product Utilization section– in other words, rules for considering the purchase of “green products and services” – as developed by the county’s Office of Energy and Sustainability and Purchasing Division.

“The new policy helps Snohomish County make more informed decisions when selecting goods and services while balancing environmental considerations with price, performance and other factors,” Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon said. “Because of our annual purchasing budget, we can make a significant environmental impact with these changes.”

The County’s new “green purchasing” policy establishes baseline criteria that employees must use when assessing a particular purchase.

Consideration must be given to the use of non-toxic and least-toxic chemicals, energy and water-efficient equipment, items that minimize waste and more.

A key aspect of the new policy requires evaluation of the total cost of ownership during the life of the product or service, also known as a “Life Cycle Cost Assessment” or LCCA.

This includes considering the initial cost, expected life, maintenance, operation, insurance, disposal, recycling or replacement of the product.

“Now that the new policy is in place, we are working hard to train staff for a smooth implementation,” said Lisa Dulude, the county’s Energy and Sustainable Development analyst. “Since purchases can vary significantly by department, we’re creating customized trainings and have written a Green Product Resource Guide that employees can use to identify the minimum ‘green considerations’ by product type.”

For more information on the County’s new “green purchasing” policy, contact Lisa Dulude at lisa.dulude@snoco.org.

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