Frequent Questions About the Comprehensive Procurement Guideline (CPG) Program
- How are products selected for designation in the CPG?
- How does EPA evaluate the products?
- Who is required to buy recycled content products?
- What is an affirmative procurement program?
- Are items designated in the CPG "environmentally preferable" products?
- What is the difference between post-consumer and recovered materials?
- How do we know if products contain the recovered content claimed by the manufacturer?
- How do I get my company added to EPA's list of manufacturers, suppliers, and vendors?
- How do I propose a product for designation?
- How are the CPG requirements enforced?
- What are the estimation, certification, verification, and monitoring?
- May an agency purchase CPG items that do not contain recovered materials?
- Does the Federal Acquisition Register (FAR) address purchasing of products designated in the CPG?
- What is the difference between items designated in the CPG and Environmentally Preferable Products?
EPA reviews a broad list of potential products made from recovered materials. EPA compiles this list through various sources of publicly available information and includes items previously researched and still under consideration by EPA. For more information on this process, please see the Product Designation Criteria and Process page.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requires EPA to consider several criteria when determining which items it will designate, including the availability of the item; the potential impact of procurement on the solid waste stream; the economic and technological feasibility of producing the item; and other uses of the recovered materials used to produce the item. EPA also considers comments from end users, manufacturers, distributors, the general public, and other interested parties through a formal rulemaking process to designate items. For more information on this process, please see the Product Designation Criteria and Process page.
The RCRA requirement to buy products containing recovered materials applies to procuring agencies that spend more than $10,000 a year on that item. Procuring agencies are federal, state and local agencies, and their contractors, that use appropriated federal funds. For example, if a county agency spends more than $10,000 a year on an EPA-designated item and part of that money is from appropriated federal funds, then the agency must purchase that item made from recovered materials. Agencies may elect not to purchase designated items when the cost is unreasonable; inadequate competition exists; items are not available within a reasonable period of time; or items do not meet the agency's reasonable performance specifications.
Within one year after EPA designates an item in the CPG, RCRA section 6002(i) requires each procuring agency purchasing more than $10,000 of that item, or functionally equivalent items, in a fiscal year, to establish an affirmative procurement program for that item. For more information, download a summary of requirements for affirmative procurement programs.
Generally, yes. The Executive Order 13423's Implementing Instructions define "environmentally preferable products" as products that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared to other products and services that serve the same purpose. Multiple attributes may be considered when purchasing environmentally preferable products, including energy use, conservation of resources, and others. Items designated in the CPG reflect one attribute, recycled content, although some products can address other attributes as well. Please see EPA's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing page for more information.
Post-consumer material means a material or finished product that has served its intended use and has been diverted or recovered from waste destined for disposal, having completed its life as a consumer item. Recovered material means waste materials and byproducts that have been recovered or diverted from solid waste, but does not include materials and byproducts generated from, and commonly reused within, an original manufacturing process. Post-consumer material is a subset of recovered material.
It is the responsibility of the procuring agency, as part of its affirmative procurement program, to obtain estimates and certifications of recovered materials content and, where appropriate, reasonably verifying these estimates and certifications.
If your company produces a designated item with recovered material content within the ranges recommended by EPA in its Recovered Materials Advisory Notice (RMAN), visit the Supplier Support page for more information on how to be added to the Product Supplier Directory.
See the Product Designation Criteria and Process page.
RCRA does not authorize EPA or any other federal agency to enforce the provisions of section 6002 and the guidelines. The requirements to purchase EPA-designated products and other products with energy or environmental attributes are enforced through (1) annual reporting to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, (2) inclusion of green purchasing on the OMB environmental stewardship scorecard, and (3) agency annual compliance monitoring of implementation of the green purchasing requirements.
Agencies should use standard contract provisions to estimate, certify, and, where appropriate, reasonably verify the recovered materials content in a product procured by an agency. Programs also must be monitored and tracked to ensure that they are fulfilling their requirements to purchase items composed of recovered materials. The E.O. 13423 implementing instructions require agencies to report compliance annually to the Federal Environmental Executive (FEE).
Agencies may elect not to purchase designated items containing recovered materials when the cost is unreasonable, inadequate competition exists, items are not available within a reasonable period of time, or items do not meet reasonable performance specifications.
Under RCRA section 6002, purchasing of EPA-designated items must be consistent with other federal procurement requirements. The FAR is the primary regulation used by federal executive agencies in their acquisition of supplies and services. On August 22, 1997, a final rule was published in the FR (62 FR 44809) amending the FAR to reflect the federal government's preference for the acquisition of recycled-content, energy-efficient, biobased, and environmentally preferable products and services and to incorporate the requirements of RCRA section 6002. These FAR revisions included solicitation provisions, clauses for obtaining certifications and estimates of recovered materials content from contractors, and a requirement that agencies establish an affirmative procurement program for EPA-designated items. Further FAR revisions are pending, including a revision clarifying that the requirements to purchase EPA-designated items apply to services contracts and construction contracts.
All CPG products are required to have recovered-content material. Recovered-content material is one of a number of environmentally preferable attributes products may have. Executive Order 13423 directs agencies to purchase a range of green products and services, including recycled-content products and environmentally preferable products and services. Environmentally preferable is defined in the March 28, 2007 Executive Order 13423 Implementing Instructions as products or services "that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose." The criteria for environmentally preferable products include multiple attributes such as energy use; conservation of resources; impacts on air, water, and land; and use of toxic or hazardous constituents. While all recycled-content products are green products, they might not be as environmentally preferable as others in a given situation where an agency has a functional need emphasizing a different energy or environmental attribute, such as no volatile organic compound content. However, recovered-content products can have additional environmentally preferable attributes.