Buying Green FAQs

What is Environmentally Preferable Purchasing?
Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, also known as EPP, is the procurement of goods and services that have a reduced impact on human health and the environment as compared to other goods and services serving the same purpose (Public Contract Code §12400-12404). Simply stated it means “Buying Green.” To learn more about EPP, visit the Buying Green website

What are environmentally preferable products?
EPP products cause less harm to humans and the environment than competing goods that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider different phases of a product’s lifecycle, such as: raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance or disposal.   

Where can I learn more about Environmentally Preferable Purchasing?
To learn about the EPP program and the Department of General Services (DGS) Procurement Division that delivers it, visit the DGS Procurement Standards & Specifications webpage

To learn more about EPP, state green contracts and how to buy green, visit the Buying Green Guide, a website published by the EPP program, known as Buying Green

How does the State of California buy green?
The state buys green by incorporating EPP specifications into our bid solicitations.  EPP specifications are technical and administrative requirements that prescribe the desired positive environmental attributes of a product. The law provides the foundation for developing EPP specifications.  Positive environmental attributes include energy efficiency, natural resource conservation, waste reduction, and reduced toxicity.

How are EPP products and services verified?
During the bid evaluation process EPP Procurement Engineers verify that products meet the minimum EPP specifications incorporated in the solicitation. Compliance may be verified through a qualified and available means that is applicable to that product specification, such as, but not limited to: third-party certifications, certification databases and publicly available supporting documentation.

Where can I find green contracts and products?
The Buying Green website is the gateway to the state’s EPP contracts. The sidebar menu on the Buying Green- Buyers website leads state agency buyers to specific products that may be purchased through the state's EPP contracts. Upon selection of a product, you’ll find not only contracts containing the green products which can be accessed by clicking “Buy Green Now”, but the page includes the specifications, laws, regulations, policies, certifications and standards used to green the contract. You’ll also find buying tips, resources and references relevant to that specific product, to further assist your contract purchase.

Is there a list of state contracts that identifies green contracts?
The State Contract Index List is just that. It is a list of State of California contracts with pertinent information, such as if the contract is mandatory for state agencies, open to local governments, Green, SABRC compliant, and more. The hyperlink in the “Green” column goes directly to the commodity page on the Buying Green website so you can easily identify the contract’s green characteristics. 

How can I sell my product or service to the state?
First let us take the opportunity to express our appreciation for your interest.  Based on Public Contract Code §12400-12404  (PCC), the EPP program focuses on the procurement of goods and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing goods or services that serve the same purpose.

The EPP program provides input to the purchasing process. However, the program does not generate the initial “need” to purchase products; that comes from our customers, state agencies.  EPP staff works with our customers to ensure their needs and the intent of the PCC are fulfilled.

To learn more about the Department of General Services Procurement Division and how to do business with the state, visit the DGS PD website

Can I list my product or service on the Buying Green website or an environmentally preferable product list?
The EPP program does not endorse or maintain a list of environmentally preferable products or services. As a means of listing your environmentally preferable product or service seek the qualification of a third-party environmental certification.

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We’ve done our best to answer your general questions. Should you not find your answer here, please feel free to email us at