Green Purchasing Policies and Requirements

The Green Purchasing Program provides prioritized focus and resources to City departments for product and service acquisitions, and centralized controls that encourage and assure compliance. Objectives are aggressively directed through various guidance documents including plans required by law and approved by City Council.

Implementing City Laws: Policies and initiatives directing City Green Purchasing

The City environmental purchasing ordinances, resolutions, orders, policies and plans are implemented in contracting guidance, solicitations, resulting contracts and other forms.

Green Purchasing Policies and Requirements

The City recognizes that the products and services the City buys have inherent social, human, health, environmental and economic impacts and that the City should make procurement decisions that embody, promote and encourage the City's commitment to sustainability. The plan is managed by FAS and was originally adopted in 1999 as part of the City Council-approved Environmental Management Program.

Download the Sustainable Purchasing Policy

SMC 20.60 Purchasing and Procurement

Subchapter III - Recycled Content Product Procurement Program
SMC 20.60.204 Policies

All Departments shall use, where practicable, reusable products, recycled content products and recyclable products." City bid specifications must require that Vendors use such products whenever possible. The City shall use a specification at least as rigorous as USEPA standards, unless exceptions are specifically justified.

Resolution 30487, relating to Persistent, Bioaccumulative Toxic Chemicals (PBTs), requires departments to identify and reduce acquisition of products containing bioaccumulative toxic chemicals identified on the Department of Ecology PBT priority list (including Mercury, dioxins, and PCBs). Specifically mentions paper, penta-treated wood, mercury switches in fleet vehicles, and PVC building materials and office supplies. City Purchasing has developed a process in the competitive bid to eliminate PBTs unless specifically evaluated and allowed for within the product specification.

Resolution 31326, establishing the Sustainable Buildings and Sites Policy, builds on Seattle's previous green building policy, the nation's first. Seattle's Sustainable Building Action Plan provides for new City-funded projects and renovations with over 5,000 square feet of occupied space to achieve a LEED Silver rating. See more on the Sustainable Buildings and Sites for City Facilities page.

Resolution 28556 authorized the development of  a "Recycled-content Procurement Plan" to encourage and increase the procurement of recycled content products and recyclable products.

Executive Order 01-05 directs City departments to:

  • Reduce paper waste by 10 percent in 2005.
  • Improve recycling rates.
  • Purchase 100 percent recycled paper as the City standard for printing and copying.
  • Make duplex (two-sided) printing and copying standard procedure for all jobs.
  • Adopt available technology that will create paper efficiencies.
  • Apply these paper waste prevention measures to procurement, consultant contracts and contracts for printing, copying and related services from outside vendors.
  • Assign a Paper Waste Prevention Coordinator at a management level to support implementation of this Executive Order and City policies cited above.

Seattle Climate Action Plan
Based on inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, the City adopts and updates actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change, including purchasing-related objectives. The Office of Sustainability & Environment developed a new Climate Action Plan in 2013, to meet the bold goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Solid Waste Management Plan
Required by state law, this plan lays out the City of Seattle's programs and services to prevent waste, increase recycling and composting, and improve solid waste services.