As a part of Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, a rule has been proposed in order to modernize existing sustainable purchasing standards and to prioritize American-based sustainable goods and services.
The Sustainable Products and Services procurement rule works to maximize federal purchasing of existing sustainable products and services and directs agencies to follow EPA’s recommendations for eco-friendly products. It will also direct agencies away from procurement of products containing PFAS, the so-called “forever chemicals” which do not easily break down in the environment and have recently gained attention as a public health hazard and potential carcinogen.
The EPA’s recommended products include U.S.-made goods and services that increase energy or water efficiency, use bio-based or recycled content, include ozone-safe substances, and more. Along with the proposed rule, the EPA announced the expansion of its ecolabel recommendations to include new purchase categories, including healthcare, laboratories, professional services, food service ware, and clothing.
“With the expansion of EPA’s Recommendations in these new product categories, Federal buyers are further encouraged to make environmentally and health-conscious purchasing decisions,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “By catalyzing federal sustainable procurement, consumers benefit from goods and services that are safer for both their families and our planet. This proposed rule builds on other bold efforts by the Biden-Harris Administration to prioritize responsible, sustainable trade and reduce pollution at its source.”
Promoting Green Products Creates Jobs and Saves Money
Not only will this ruling work towards Biden’s goal of net-zero emissions from Federal procurement by 2050, but it also aims to create jobs and save consumers money. The rule will boost Federal agency purchases of EPA-recommended green products while creating jobs within U.S. manufacturing.
Further, using green products often leads to saving taxpayer dollars. In 2021, the Federal government’s purchase of electronics that followed the EPA’s guidance saved taxpayers around $2 billion in energy costs over the lifetime of the products.
“As the world’s largest buyer, we have a responsibility to lead by example and accelerate the move toward buying clean,” said Robin Carnahan, administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration. “Across the country, American businesses are ready to meet this moment with innovative products and services that translate into good jobs, reduced energy costs to taxpayers, and a healthier planet — and that’s a triple win.”