WHAT DO ALL OF THESE WORDS MEAN?
A number of terms are used in environmentally preferable purchasing. It is important to understand the terms when making a purchase and to make sure that the item being purchased meets the particular Federal standard. The fact that a product claims to be "green" or "energy-efficient" does not, by itself, meet the requirement to make the environmentally preferable purchase. For the purchase of products made with recycled content, the EPA sets out the various minimum requirements. When trying to purchase an energy-efficient product, the Energy Star criteria or the FEMP Energy Efficiency Recommendations set the standards for best available technology.
- Designated Item: an available EPA guideline item or category of items, made with recovered material.
- Energy-Efficient Products: those products that are in the upper 25% of energy efficiency for all similar products, or at least 10% more efficient than the minimum level that meets Federal standards.
- Environmentally Preferable: means products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on the natural environment or on human health when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance, or disposal of the product or service.
- Greening: the application of energy-efficient technologies and environmentally preferred or environmentally friendly products and practices in a multiyear, multidisciplinary project designed to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste, improve worker productivity, and save money throughout a facility.
- Life-cycle Costing (LCC): the amortized annual cost of a product, including costs associated with capital, installation, operations, maintenance, and disposal, discounted over the lifetime of the product.
- Minimum Content Standard: the minimum recovered material content specifications set to assure the recovered material content required is the maximum available without jeopardizing the intended item use or violating the limitations of the minimum content standards set forth by EPA's guidelines.
- Postconsumer Materials: materials or finished products that have served their intended use as consumer items and have been diverted or recovered from waste destined for disposal.
- Postconsumer Waste: a material or product, discarded for disposal after passing through the hands of a final user, having served its intended purpose. Postconsumer waste is part of the broader category "recycled material."
- Practicable: capable of performing in accordance with applicable specifications, available at a reasonable price and within a reasonable period of time, and while a satisfactory level of competition with other products is being maintained.
- Preference: when two products or services are equal in performance characteristics and price, HMISMSA, in making purchasing decisions, will favor the more environmentally sound or energy-efficient product.
- Recovered Materials: waste materials and by-products of manufacturing processes that have been recovered or diverted from solid waste. Materials and by-products normally reused within an original manufacturing process (the same process from which they were generated) are not included.
- Recyclability: the degree to which a product or material may be recovered or otherwise diverted from the solid waste stream for the purpose of recycling.
- Recycled Material: a material utilized in place of raw or virgin material in product manufacturing consisting of materials derived from postconsumer waste, industrial scrap, material derived from agricultural wastes, and other items, all of which can be used in new product manufacture.
- Recycling: the series of activities, including collection, separation, and processing, by which materials are recovered from the solid waste stream for use as raw materials in the manufacture of new products (other than fuel for producing heat or power by combustion).
- Virgin Material: a mined or harvested raw material to be used in manufacturing.
- Water-Saving Products: those products that are in the upper 25% of water conservation for all similar products, or at least 10% more water conserving than the minimum level that meets Federal standards.