Kane County Government
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Sustai​n Kane


Through the creatio​n of a Kane County Green Purchasing Program, the County will join a growing number of local governments, federal agencies, and businesses in applying standards for environmentally preferable purchasing. Kane County’s green purchasing practices will work to ensure a sustainable future for the County and provide a model for the community. 

The Program will act as a guide to encourage County agencies to buy products that are cost effective, meet performance requirements and are environmentally preferable whenever practicable. These products will provide various environmental benefits, including resource efficiency, reduced toxicity, durability, and/or recycled content. Green Purchasing is simply one more strategy to help the County deliver services to residents in the most efficient and cost effective manner. 

Green purchasing can reduce government operational costs, save taxpayer money, safeguard resources for future generations, and find better performing products to provide vital services to communities. County Green Purchasing Programs are significant because volumes purchased can make a positive difference in markets, encouraging businesses to maintain strong environmental commitments and inspiring suppliers to stock more ecologically responsible products. This demand will ultimately support suppliers in providing green products at better prices for residential consumers as well.

Progress to Date

• The Purchasing Department converted from paper-based bid/proposal document to electronic bids in 2011 resulting in a reduction in copy paper and toner usage, an elimination of envelope use and postage, and a reduction in copier run times.

• Beginning in 2011 the Purchasing Department began improving bid specifications & requirements to include environmentally friendly cleaning products, janitorial paper supplies, office paper supplies, and remanufactured or recycled toners.
• Some cleaning products currently used meet at least one of two industry-standards: Green Seal GS-37 for general purpose, bathroom, glass and carpet cleaners as well as the EcoLogo CCD-146 standard for hard surface cleaners. Other cleaning chemicals like floor cleaner are not certified under green cleaning industry standard but do meet EPA specifications for health.
• The Purchasing Department conducts a confidential document shredding program, as needed, for destruction of old bid and proposal documents, inviting other departments to bring their documents as well. This effort improves office space and file cabinet storage capacity and assures recycling of all paper fiber.
• The Division of Environmental Resources printed the 8-page annual 2012-2013 Kane County Recycles Green Guide on 100% post-consumer recycled content paper.

Strategies & Action Items

Strategy P1: Develop a Kane County Green Purchasing Program
A Kane County Green Purchasing Program will encourage the use of environmentally superior products, where quality, function and cost are equal to or more favorable than conventional products. The program will consider and recommend products and packaging materials based on their recycled content, the efficient use of energy and natural resources, and the potential for safe non-hazardous disposal; and will compare cost-effectiveness alongside simple cost. A Green Purchasing Program can boost the morale of staff as well, and will set an example for employees and visitors who encounter environmentally superior products or services on County campuses.

Action Items:

1. Assemble Green Purchasing Program Examples A review and analysis of best practices will advise the creation of a top notch purchasing program.
2. Develop Kane County Green Purchasing Program Staff from Environmental Resources and Purchasing will draft and finalize the Program, seeking approval as appropriate with goal to have a completed program guide in use by 2014 or sooner. 

3. Include Requirements and Recommendations in Service Contracts As a purchaser of office, cleaning, landscaping, and maintenance supplies and services, the County is well positioned to increase the environmental sustainability of its operations through strategic contracting and purchasing procedures, while also requiring better product reporting from vendors.

4. Conduct Education and Outreach Through education and outreach to staff, promote and support the Green Purchasing Program in order to encourage environmentally preferable products whenever practicable, streamline purchasing across departments, and consolidate purchases into fewer orders.

The Kane County Green Purchasing Program will address the following categories and
elements:Recycled-content Products
Utilizing materials made of recycled content from municipal, business, and other recycling programs adds strength to the market demand for reused materials while reducing waste to landfills and incinerators.
• Measure Recycled Content: Number or percentage of products on lists with recycled content Environmentally-preferred Paper Products According to RPN’s 2009 Responsible Purchasing Trends Report, office paper and janitorial paper products constitute the most common green products purchased by local government. Specifications, such as post-consumer recycled content paper or certifications such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), have positive impacts on forest, water and energy use. Depending on the volume of paper purchased, County buyers may be able to procure environmentally-preferable papers without increasing costs. Alternately, any additional cost for recycled-content paper may be offset by paper reduction strategies, such as defaulting all printers to duplex (2-sided) printing, reducing margin widths, and encouraging paperless practices. In conjunction with paper reduction strategies, Kane County will work towards the purchase of at least 30% (with an ideal of 100%) post-consumer recycled content paper for County publications and intra-office use.
• Measure Paper: Quantities purchased/reduced consumption, percentage of post-consumer recycled-content

Energy Efficient Products

The U.S. ENERGY STAR Program is an easy way for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance. Products with ENERGY STAR ratings include copiers, fax machines, mail machines, computers, lighting (including traffic lights), appliances, air conditioners, and more. Green Computers and Office Equipment In addition to maximizing energy efficiency of computers and office equipment, purchasers can also examine the environmental impacts throughout a product’s life, including material extraction, energy and water required in the manufacturing process, and end-of-life handling or recycling. The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) allows purchasers to evaluate, compare, and select desktop computers, notebooks, and monitors based on environmental criteria. EcoLogo offers similar standards for printers, scanners, copiers, and other office equipment.
• Measure Computer and Office Equipment: Number of energy-efficient appliances purchased each year, annual weight of electronics recycled

Green Cleaning Products and Maintenance Supplies

Many cleaning products are considered hazardous due to their flammable, corrosive, or toxic properties and therefore present safety, health and cost concerns. At the same time, benign but equally high-performing green cleaning products that meet the standards of third-party organizations like Green Seal or EcoLogo, are becoming more readily available. Environmentally-friendly maintenance supplies including light bulbs, air filters, and paint can also be purchased.
• Measure Cleaning Products: Number of different items on list, percentage non-toxic (Green Seal & EcoLogo) products on lists, recycled content of janitorial paper supply (toilet tissue, paper towels), percentage of environmentally preferable maintenance supplies (light bulbs, air filters, paint, etc)

Strategy P2: Create a Kane County Surplus Exchange Program Creating an internal office equipment, furnishings, and supplies exchange program can save money as well as resources, by redistributing items between County offices for County use only. This sort of program works well for a variety of items under $500. It enables staff to share resources and reuse the unwanted but still useful items from other offices rather than ordering new furnishings or supplies. A surplus exchange program can be run via an internal website or email list, monitored by the Purchasing Department.

Action Item:
1. Develop Kane County Surplus Exchange Program Staff from Environmental Resources, and Purchasing will create and monitor a surplus exchange program.
• Measure Program Use: Number of exchanges made and the amount of money saved through avoiding new purchases.

For More Information ...

Federal Govern​ment:
The federal government site houses Environmentally Preferable Purchasing publications and model policies for federal and local governmental entities and their contractors.

Guide to purchasing products or services that have a lesser effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services.

IL State Government:
http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/green/Documents/2006 GGCC Report.pdf
The State of Illinois is using its purchasing power to help maintain a healthful environment for the 13 million residents of the state. State agencies, boards and commissions use products that are non-toxic and made from local resources. These purchasing preferences keep Illinois clean and also promote economic development.

National Association of Counties (NACo):

Business level:
Forest Products' site is full of links to environmental information about the sourcing, production, use, and end-of-life of paper, including analyses, trend reports, white papers, case studies, and fact sheets, connections to working groups, forums, and loads of green business resources.

Community level:
U.S. Communities provides guidance for implementing a green purchasing policy along with cooperative purchasing contracts with major suppliers such as Office Depot, available for local governments across the country to purchase “green” products.

The Responsible Purchasing Network provides a wealth of resources related to green procurement.
Download RPN’s 2010 Responsible Purchasing Trends Report.

Green Cleaning:


Green Seal GS-37

EcoLogo CCD-146, Hard surface Cleaners ​