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Environmentally Preferred Purchasing

State of Washington EPP Laws, Rules and Directives

The State of Washington has a broad legislative and policy mandate for environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) activities. This EPP mandate is articulated in laws, executive orders and statewide plans, which require state agencies to:

  • Increase purchases of environmentally preferable products.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reduce the purchase and use of equipment, supplies, and other products that contain persistent, bio-accumulative toxic chemicals.
  • Reduce energy use.
  • Reduce water use.
  • Use green building practices.

Local governments, school districts and political subdivisions frequently adopt EPP practices to help reduce their impact on Washington's environment and human health.


Chapter 173-333 WAC - Persistant Bioaccumulative Toxins (PBTs)

The goal of this rule is to reduce and phase-out PBT uses, releases and exposures in Washington. The rule establishes a process that the Department of Ecology will use to evaluate and identify actions that should be taken for particular PBTs.

The purpose of the rule is to:
  1. Establish criteria ecology will use to identify persistent bioaccumulative toxins that pose human health or environmental threats in Washington state;
  2. Establish a list of persistent bioaccumulative toxins;
  3. Establish procedures ecology will use to review and periodically update the list;
  4. Establish criteria for selecting persistent bioaccumulative toxins and metals of concern for which ecology will prepare chemical action plans;
  5. Define the scope and content of chemical action plans and establish the process ecology will use to prepare those plans; and
  6. Define the processes ecology will use to coordinate the implementation of this chapter with the department of health and other agencies.

Bills and Laws

Chapter 70.270 RCW Replacement of Lead Wheel Weights

This statute provides that on and after January 1, 2011, a person (including governmental entities) who replaces or balances motor vehicle tires must replace lead wheel weights with environmentally preferred wheel weights on all vehicles when they replace or balance tires in Washington.

Chapter 70.285 RCW - Brake Friction Material

Beginning January 1, 2014, no manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, or distributor may sell or offer for sale brake friction material in Washington state containing any of the following constituents in an amount exceeding the specified concentrations:
  • Asbestiform fibers, 0.1 percent by weight.
  • Cadmium and its compounds, 0.01 percent by weight.
  • Chromium(VI)-salts, 0.1 percent by weight.
  • Lead and its compounds, 0.1 percent by weight.
  • Mercury and its compounds, 0.1 percent by weight.
  • Beginning January 1, 2021, no manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, or distributor may sell or offer for sale brake friction material in Washington state containing more than five percent copper and its compounds by weight.
Chapter 70.240 RCW - Children's Safe Products

Prohibition on the manufacturing and sale of children's products containing lead, cadmium, or phthalates. Beginning July 1, 2009, no manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer may manufacture, knowingly sell, offer for sale, distribute for sale, or distribute for use in this state a children's product or product component containing lead, cadmium or phthalates. The department of ecology, in consultation with the department of health, shall identify high priority chemicals that are of high concern for children after considering a child's or developing fetus's potential for exposure to each chemical.

Chapter 70.280 RCW - Bisphenol A - Restrictions on Sale

Beginning July 1, 2011, no manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer may manufacture, knowingly sell, offer for sale, distribute for sale, or distribute for use in this state, any bottle, cup, or other container, except a metal can, that contains bisphenol A if that container is designed or intended to be filled with any liquid, food, or beverage primarily for consumption from that container by children three years of age or younger and is sold or distributed at retail without containing any liquid, food, or beverage.

Beginning July 1, 2012, no manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer may manufacture, knowingly sell, offer for sale, distribute for sale, or distribute for use in this state, sports bottles that contain bisphenol A.

Chapter 70.295 RCW - Storm Water Pollution - Coal Tar

After January 1, 2012, no person may sell at wholesale or retail a coal tar pavement product that is labeled as containing coal tar.

After July 1, 2013, a person may not apply a coal tar pavement product on a driveway or parking area.

Chapter 70.76 RCW - Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers - Flame Retardants

After January 1, 2008, no person may manufacture, knowingly sell, offer for sale, distribute for sale, or distribute for use in this state noncomestible products containing polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). The statute applies to all uses of penta-bde and octa-bde, and specific uses of deca-bde. The department shall assist state agencies to give priority and preference to the purchase of equipment, supplies, and other products that do not contain PBDEs.

Chapter 70.95G RCW - Packages Containing Metals

This statute restricts the amount of lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium that can be intentionally introduced to packaging during manufacturing or distribution.

Chapter 70.95M RCW - Mercury Education Reduction Act

In 2003, Washington State began implementing the Washington Mercury Chemical Action Plan, and the Legislature passed the Mercury Education Reduction Act (MERA). The law mandates the reduced use of mercury in consumer products and in some cases the elimination of mercury-containing products. The law provides that:
  • Bulked mercury, thermometers, thermostats, manometers, and novelties containing mercury are banned from sale in Washington State.
  • The Department of Enterprise Services shall give priority and preference to the purchase of equipment, supplies, and other products that contain no mercury-added compounds or components, with certain designated exceptions.
  • Fluorescent lamps containing mercury must be labeled as containing mercury to be sold in Washington State. The manufacturer has primary responsibility for affixing these labels.
  • Schools may not purchase, use, or possess elemental mercury.
Chapter 39.26.280 RCW Preference - Products and products in packaging that does not contain polychlorinated biphenyls.

This statute states that the department of enterprise services shall establish purchasing and procurement policies that provide a preference for products and products in packaging that does not contain polychlorinated biphenyls.

No agency may knowingly purchase products or products in packaging containing polychlorinated biphenyls above the practical quantification limit except when it is not cost-effective or technically feasible to do so.

Chapter 39.26.160 RCW - Procurement of Goods and Services
Bid awards -- Considerations -- Requirements and criteria to be set forth -- Negotiations -- Use of enterprise vendor registration and bid notification system. This statute amends several statutes to the effect that in determining the lowest responsive and responsible bidder, an agency may consider best value criteria, including but not limited to whether the bid considers human health and environmental impacts.

Chapter 43.19 RCW - Department of Enterprise Services
This statute, the Department of Enterprise Services enabling legislation, provides a broad legislative basis for state purchases of recycled-content and energy-saving products. It also provides flexibility for the Office of State Procurement (OSP) to award state contracts based on environmental considerations. It establishes that factors beyond price, including past performance and life cycle costing, are to be used in determining the responsible bidder.

Chapter 43.19A RCW Recycled product procurement
This statute was established in 1991 to substantially increase the purchase of recycled-content products by all state and local government agencies, including higher education and public schools.

Chapter 43.19A.022 RCW - Recycled content paper for printers and copiers - Purchasing Priority
This statute requires state agencies to purchase one hundred percent recycled content white cut sheet bond paper for use in printers and copiers.

Chapter 70.95.725 RCW - Paper conservation program - Paper recycling program
This section of the statute requires state agencies to:

  • Develop and implement a paper conservation program to reduce use of printing and copy paper by 30 percent of current use.
  • Develop and implement a paper recycling program with the goal of recycling 100 percent of all copy and printing paper in all buildings with 25 employees or more.
Chapter 70.95.010(16) RCW - Solid Waste Management - Reduction and Recycling

This statute requires that:
(16) All governmental entities in the state should set an example by implementing aggressive waste reduction and recycling programs at their workplaces and by purchasing products that are made from recycled materials and are recyclable.

Chapter 43.19.642 RCW - Biodiesel
This statute was established in 2006 to develop markets for less polluting biodiesel fuels by encouraging state agencies to purchase this fuel.
State agencies are:

  • Encouraged to use a fuel blend of 20 percent biodiesel in diesel-powered vehicles and equipment.
  • Required to use biodiesel as an additive to ultra-low sulfur diesel for lubricity if:
    1. Use of the additive is warranted, and
    2. Biodiesel is comparable in performance and cost with other available lubricity additives.
  • Required to use at least 20 percent biodiesel for the operation of the agencies' diesel-powered vessels, vehicles, and construction equipment by June 1, 2009.

Chapter 43.19.637 RCW - Clean-fuel vehicles - Purchasing requirements
This statute was established to require that at least thirty percent of all new vehicles purchased through state contracts be clean-fuel vehicles. It also states that the percentage of clean-fuel vehicles purchased through a state contract shall increase at the rate of five percent each year.

Chapter 39.35D RCW - High-Performance Public Buildings
This statute requires all new state-funded facilities over 5,000 square feet to meet green building criteria. Major office and higher education facility projects are required to achieve LEED™ Silver certification. New K-12 schools are required to meet the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol (WSSP) or achieve LEED certification.

This statute establishes the use of Washington State-based resources, building materials, products, industries, manufacturers, and other businesses as a priority in green building projects.

Executive Orders

Executive Order 02-03 Sustainable practices by State Agencies
Executive Order 02-03, signed in 2002 by Governor Locke, calls for each state agency to establish sustainability objectives and expand markets for environmentally preferable products and services. With the exception of EPP, these sustainability objectives have been incorporated into legislation.

Executive Order 04-01 Persistent Toxic Chemicals
This Executive Order, signed by Governor Locke in 2004, directs state agencies to take steps to reduce persistent toxic chemicals in Washington State's environment. Specifically, it says that:

  • Each state agency shall adopt measures to reduce the use of equipment, supplies and other products that contain persistent toxic chemicals and include these actions in their Sustainability Plans.
  • The Department of General Administration (GA) Office of State Procurement (OSP) shall make products that do not contain persistent toxic chemicals available to state agencies. If such products are not available, preference shall be give to products with the least amount of persistent toxic chemicals.

Executive Order 05-01 Establishing Sustainability and Efficiency Goals for State Operations
This Executive Order, signed by Governor Locke in 2005, directs state agencies to achieve sustainability goals, many of which have been superseded by legislation.

Executive Order 13-06 Improving the Health and Productivity of State Employees and Access to Healthy Food in State Facilities
This Executive Order, signed by Governor Inslee in 2013, directs state agencies to adopt and begin to implement a food and beverage service policy for state employes. Whenever practical, the Executive Order states that Washington-grown products shall be purchased and promoted.

Beyond Waste Plan

The Beyond Waste Plan is the state plan for solid and hazardous waste management. It sets a vision to reduce or eliminate most wastes and toxics by 2035, and use any remaining wastes as resources. The plan provides guidance for reducing the use of products with toxic substances, decreasing waste, increasing recycling and properly managing remaining wastes, and focuses on some of the largest and most risky portions of our waste stream. The Plan promotes EPP as an important strategy.

The Beyond Waste Plan meets statutory requirements for statewide solid and hazardous waste plans. It advances the state's waste management hierarchy of reduction, recycling, and safe disposal. Solid waste and hazardous waste planning guidelines identify procurement policies as a helpful tool for implementing waste reduction and recycling programs. Read these at:

For Buy Green technical assistance, contact:

Tina Simcich
Email: tina.simcich@ecy.wa.gov
(360) 407-7517