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Managing and Transforming Waste Streams – A Tool for Communities

Contracting Best Practices: Purchasing Preferences (Green Vehicles & Products)

Contracts can require contractors to follow environmentally and locally preferable purchasing polices for operations. These types of policies advance zero waste by "closing the recycling loop," reducing or eliminating toxics, reducing emissions, and returning value to the local economy.

Examples of minimum requirements include using alternative fuel/low emission vehicles, re-refined motor oil, retread tires, recycled content collection containers, 100% postconsumer recycled paper printed materials and purchasing consumable supplies and repair services from local vendors.

Contractors can also be required to provide summaries of items purchased and the costs of those items to monitor the impacts of the purchasing requirements.

Case Studies:


  • Develops sustainable markets: A purchasing policies support local markets and recycled-content products, and reinforces the "close the loop" message.
  • Reduced costs: Many reused and recycled products cost less than products manufactured from new materials.


  • Potential increased costs: There may be increased costs associated with increasing contractors' purchasing requirements and some environmentally preferable or local purchases may have higher costs.
  • Local government oversight and monitoring: While some purchases, such as alternative fuel vehicles or recycled-content recycling bins are easy to monitor, some purchasing policies may be more difficult to oversee.