How and Why to Buy Green
How to Buy Green
In San Francisco, we lead by example. San Francisco’s landmark Precautionary Purchasing Ordinance requires that City staff buy environmentally preferable, or "green," products. We created the SF Approved List to share the best in authoritative green purchasing information with City staff and other large institutional buyers. We work closely with the City’s Office of Contract Administration and many other departments to review ingredients, recycled content, energy efficiency, product performance, and other specifications to compile the list. You will find innovative products ranging from reusable moving boxes to rechargeable batteries that last a year between charges. We also recognize City staff for buying green.
Buy green for your:
Why Buy Green
The best way to buy green is to not buy at all. Repairing or reusing products is almost always the most environmentally sound choice.
The next best option is to buy environmentally preferable products. Buying green has significant environmental benefits, and institutional purchasers hold tremendous purchasing power. Governmental purchasing accounts for up to 25% of the nation’s gross domestic product, with state and local governments spending more than $400 billion on products and services every year. Leveraging institutional purchasing power towards the procurement of green products and services increases market demand, spurring market innovation and ensuring these products and services are widely available and affordable for everyone. Buying green is like voting with our dollars: It is an easy, powerful way to change the world. For example:
- More than 441 million EPEAT® registered electronics have been sold since the rating system began assessing green gadgets in 2005 – adding up to a 78.6 million megawatt-hour reduction in energy use, and a reduction of 320,000 metric tons in hazardous waste.
- Buying 100% recycled-content paper that is bleached without chlorine can reduce energy use by 44 percent, decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent, cut solid waste emissions in half, decrease water use by 50 percent, reduce water pollution and save trees.
- Switching to safer cleaning products can reduce incidents of allergic reactions, asthma, burns, eye damage, major organ damage, and cancer connected with the hazardous chemicals used in many traditional cleaning products.
The good news: Thanks to consumer demand, many manufacturers have dramatically expanded their lines of green products over the past several years. Most green products work as well as traditional products and are cost effective.
Additional Information for How and Why to Buy Green
San Francisco is habitat for 800,000 people – meeting needs for space to work, play, and learn; for food, water, and air; for community with local flora and fauna. SF Environment provides support for urban agriculture and forestry and green buildings, helping residents and businesses harness environmental opportunities.