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Governor Hochul Announces Green Purchasing Communities Program

Good news for local governments! Governor Hochul recently announced the new Green Purchasing Communities program, a first-in-the-nation program that makes it easier for all forms of local governments (villages, towns, cities, counties, school districts, etc.) to ensure the products they are purchasing have a lower environmental impact. This program aligns closely with the Center for Sustainable Materials Management's (the Center) vision to make New York State a driving force of the future by galvanizing and leading all sectors of the State to apply the principles of sustainable materials management, propelling the State to become the least-resource consumptive and most circular in the country.

In addition, local governments that participate will receive recognition for their commitment to purchasing green products and services.

Benefits to local governments of becoming a Green Purchasing Community include:

  • Adopting a simple-to-administer green purchasing program
  • Moving the market in a more sustainable direction
  • Being recognized for their commitment to the environment
  • Getting points toward Climate Smart Communities Certification

Local governments that become green purchasing communities commit to following the GreenNY purchasing specifications that New York State government uses. By making this simple change, local governments can work towards purchasing products and services that are better for our public health and environment. With over 75 different GreenNY purchasing specifications covering office and building management supplies, electronic equipment and appliances, food service items, and transportation items, there are specifications to follow for a wide variety of items frequently purchased by local governments. In addition, the GreenNY committee is constantly updating specifications and creating new ones, meaning that Green Purchasing communities will automatically be following the latest green purchasing specifications.

By opting into the program, these communities can also utilize the Green Purchasing Guide prepared by the CSMM and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). This guide provides live links to GreenNY-compliant products and other commonly used products at the ESF campus. This guide was designed for use by College purchasers but can serve as an excellent resource to all who follow the GreenNY purchasing specifications. If communities are interested in receiving guidance with using the Guide, making their own, or transitioning to compliant products through the Green Purchasing Communities program they may contact the Center's Executive Director, Kate Walker,

"This program is an exciting opportunity for local governments to make small but impactful change to their daily operations, and the Center looks forward to serving as a resource to these communities as they adopt sustainable purchasing practices," said Kate Walker, Executive Director of the Center of Sustainable Materials Management.

About the Center for Sustainable Materials Management

The New York State Center for Sustainable Materials Management (Center) was established at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in the spring of 2020 through a NYS Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) grant administered by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The Center places ESF, DEC, and their partners in a leadership role regarding materials (waste) reduction, reuse, and recycling in New York and the US. The Center focuses on the breadth of the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) framework. SMM is an approach to promote sustainable materials use, integrating actions targeted at reducing negative environmental impacts, while preserving natural capital throughout the life cycle of materials, taking into account economic efficiency and social equity. Natural capital is preserved through SMM by increasing resource productivity, reducing material throughputs, and reusing/recycling materials to such a degree that depletion of natural capital is minimized, and ecosystem services maintained. The objective is to maximize positive, and minimize negative environmental, economic, and social outcomes across the entire life cycle, as well as at every stage of the cycle.

About ESF

Founded in 1911, ESF is one of the nation's premier colleges focused exclusively on the study of the environment, developing renewable technologies, and building a sustainable future. The College is a recognized leader in the practice of sustainability, is close to being one of the first carbon-negative institutions in the nation, and as a result, is consistently ranked as one of the top 2 "greenest" colleges in the nation.