Purchasing Committee Releases “Green” Procurement Guidelines and Best Practices Manual

The Maryland Green Purchasing Committee met on September 29 and approved its first Annual Report to the Governor and General Assembly.  The report, which should be available soon on the Maryland Department of General Services website, includes an “environmentally preferable purchasing” (EPP) best practices manual and “green” purchasing guidelines that can be used by county governments.  The guidelines currently cover computers, printers, copiers, toner cartridges, cleaning supplies, lighting, and equipment disposal.  The Committee will consider other guidelines and best practices based on successful practices from other jurisdictions. 

The Committee was created as a result of legislation in 2010 [HB 1164/SB 693] to study and promote EPP and in State government procurements, including the development of an EPP best practices manual and “green purchasing guidelines to address practices, products. services, and food that will reduce negative impacts on human health and the environment.”  As part of its work, the Committee does consider cost, product effectiveness, impact on the environment, and impact on human health.

At the Committee’s request, MACo is an ad hoc member and has provided input on county procurement practices and concerns.  When creating the best practices manual and guidelines, the Committee wanted a product that would be useful by both the State and local governments.

As reported in a September 30 Baltimore Sun article, the Committee also created a policy that will be adopted by the Administration for using tap water over bottled water in State buildings.

The state’s “Green Purchasing Committee,” formed last year to steer the government toward buying more healthful and environmentally friendly goods and services, voted Thursday to phase out the use of bottled water in state offices and other facilities, officials said. …

It’s unclear how much the state might save in giving up bottled water. Richard Norling, a Department of Natural Resources representative on the green purchasing panel, said records indicate the state paid $200,000 in fiscal 2010 for Deer Park, a Maryland brand that before its acquisition by Nestle used to be bottled solely from mountain springs in Garrett County.  …

There will be exceptions for buildings or work situations where water fountains or taps aren’t available, he said, and in emergencies or where health and safety are a concern. It will also be up to individual agency heads to decide what liquid refreshments are stocked in vending machines on state property.

The Committee plans to study the use of recyclable and biodegradable styrofoam, including county styrofoam recycling efforts in the near future.  The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled for November 30.

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