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Waste Prevention Round Table

Environmental Purchasing


Things You Can Do Now / Past Meetings / More Resources / Contacts

Things You Can Do Now

1) Complete facility self-assessment guide at

2) Print a copy of the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) "EPP How To Guide", read it and pass it on or post it. Make it required reading for people in your department. This guide was written by the EPP Work Group of Hospitals for a Healthy Environment and is available online at:

3) Understand why the purchasing stage is important.

  • Procurement of most products and services go through the Purchasing Department
  • Money changes hands here, offering the greatest leverage on vendors
  • The closer to the source a problem is corrected, the less costly it is (dollars, adverse publicity, technical complexity)

    4) Incorporate environmental language in your requests for proposals (RFPs) and purchasing contracts.

    5) Continually ask your vendors and Group Purchasing Organizations for products that are environmentally preferable.

    6) Implement modest, measurable goals for EPP, then monitor progress. For example, buy only non-mercury thermometers, sphygmomanometers, and esophageal dilators.

    7) Visit the Sustainable Hospitals Website,, for a list of alternative healthcare products and practices. Contact the SHP Clearinghouse for additional information and printed resources. SHP Clearinghouse phone: 978-934-3386 and email:

    8) Visit the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) Website,, and check out the Tools and Resources section "Green Purchasing". The H2E effort is to educate health care professionals about pollution prevention opportunities.

    9) Build a network of resources that provide good ideas and allow you to identify best practices. Visit the website for starters.

    10) Ask hospital personnel how everyday activities can be tuned to be more environmentally sound. Work with vendors to incorporate employees' suggestions. With a little prompting, an abundance of good ideas will come forth. For example, when evaluating copy machines, place a premium on ones that are strong on 2-sided copying.

    11) Broadcast your successes. For example, use the hospital newsletter to promote EPP achievements.

    Past Meetings

    • Green Purchasing (Environmentally Preferable Purchasing) in the Medical Industry
      November 16, 2000 Notes

    More Resources

    "Environmentally Preferable Purchasing How To Guide", Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (an AHA/EPA Partnership), online at

    This manual from the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center was prepared to provide Kentucky health care facilities with guidelines for the reduction of PBTs and pollution prevention through an EMS approach.

    Health care organizations are increasingly recognizing that waste minimization and toxics use reduction are important both from a business and community relations perspective. This report, prepared by Tellus Institute, shows how environmental costs impact organizations.

    Although a bit off the subject, here is a very intuitive web tool provided by OSHA. The tool focuses on some of the hazards and controls found in the hospital setting, and describes standard requirements as well as recommended safe work practices for employee safety and health.

    The Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center page on "Supply Chain Management for Environmental Improvement: Greening the Supply Chain" is found at:

    A comprehensive web site with fact sheets, links to healthcare technical assistance program sites, and alternative medical product suppliers.

    This National Wildlife Federation (NWF) guide serves as a resource guide for procurement officers and consumers on mercury in products and their alternatives.


    Sustainable Hospitals Project
    Kitson 200
    One University Avenue
    Lowell, MA 01854

    Catherine Galligan
    phone: (978) 934-3386
    Ken Grimm