2.0 Policy Package

Eco-Friendly Purchasing

Toxic chemicals that damage our health can be found in everything from cleaning products to carpets. City leaders can lead by example and lessen exposure for city workers, residents, and visitors by buying products free of toxic chemicals. When our leaders buy eco-friendly products for city buildings, they make it clear that the health of our communities and our environment is worth protecting.

The Toxic Chemicals Challenge

  • Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, and common products such as furnishings, flooring, and cleaning products — products frequently purchased by cities — often contain chemicals that contribute to increased indoor air contamination and adverse health effects.
  • Annual healthcare costs and lost earnings from low-level but daily exposure to chemicals found in common products exceed $340 billion, or more than 2.3% of the U.S. GDP.
  • People in low-income communities and communities of color experience higher levels of exposure to hazardous chemicals and conditions, exacerbating health disparities.

A Healthy Solution: Eco-Friendly Purchasing

  • Protects City Workers — People who provide vital services to cities, such as cleaning, foodservice, maintenance, and waste management, are particularly at risk of developing asthma and other illnesses when using products containing toxic chemicals. This disproportionately affects communities of color, who make up the majority of cleaning workers in large cities.
  • Safe, Affordable Alternatives Exist There are affordable alternatives to toxic products — and cities save resources in preventable health care costs. Eco-friendly purchasing is the smart thing for cities to do.
  • Cities Can Lead the Way Cities spend billions of dollars annually purchasing goods and services. When cities choose to procure goods free of harmful chemicals and practices, municipalities can help decrease demand for the extraction, manufacturing, and disposal of toxic chemicals while improving the health of their workforce and communities.

CityHealth partners with the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) in support of this policy.



The state of eco-friendly purchasing policies in big US cities

18 out of 75 cities received a medal for eco-friendly purchasing policies, including eight golds, one silver, and nine bronze.

Measuring cities’ Eco-Friendly Purchasing policies

How will we award eco-friendly purchasing medals?Bronze medalBronze MedalSilver medalSilver MedalGold medalGold Medal
The city has an eco-friendly purchasing policy that requires annual reporting.Required for this MedalRequired for this MedalRequired for this Medal
The city has an eco-friendly purchasing policy that meets independent standards for at least one of the following high-priority categories: furnishings, foodware, cleaning products.Not Required for this MedalRequired for this MedalRequired for this Medal
The city’s eco-friendly purchasing policy applies to all requests for proposals (RFPs) and contracts.Not Required for this MedalNot Required for this MedalRequired for this Medal

Cities with Eco-Friendly Purchasing Laws