City of Providence


Resolution Regarding An Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Policy


Department:City CouncilSponsors:Councilman John Goncalves, Councilwoman Helen D. Anthony, Councilwoman Carmen Castillo, Councilman Michael J. Correia, Councilwoman Nirva R. LaFortune, Councilor Rachel M. Miller, Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan, Council President Sabina Matos, Councilman Pedro J. Espinal, Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris, Councilman John J. Igliozzi, Councilor Katherine A. Kerwin, Councilman Nicholas J. Narducci, Councilor David A. Salvatore, Councilman James E. Taylor


  1. Printout
  2. 2021-1

Item Discussion

Resolution Regarding an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Policy for the City of Providence.

Document Comments

WHEREAS, An Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy (EPP Policy) will guide City staff in making purchasing choices that minimize negative impacts on human health and the environment; and


WHEREAS, Adoption of an EPP Policy supports the goals outlined in the Climate Justice Plan for the City of Providence to lead by example in city-owned schools and facilities, to create the conditions for healthy community spaces, and to build a local and regenerative, or circular, economy in Providence; and


WHEREAS, Beginning in September 2019, the City of Providence has collaborated with Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) with support from Clean Water Action RI to minimize the use of products containing neurotoxic chemicals in City-owned facilities and create incentives for healthy, sustainable, low-impact products; and


WHEREAS, There can often be cost-savings or little to no additional cost to purchasing some environmentally preferred products; and


WHEREAS, There are third party certification programs to easily guide contractors and staff to use safer and preferred products; and


WHEREAS, New York, NY, Ann Arbor, MI, San Francisco, CA and Portland, OR have all adopted similar EPP Policies; and


WHEREAS, adoption of an EPP Policy should direct staff to:


              Institute practices that reduce waste by prioritizing the purchase of long-lasting, durable, reusable products and eliminating where possible the purchase of single-use disposable items, especially single-use plastics,

              Purchase products that include recycled content in order to support strong recycling markets,

              Purchase products and institute practices that conserve energy and water, use agricultural fibers and residues, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, use unbleached or chlorine free manufacturing processes, and use recycled wood and wood from sustainably harvested forests,

              Purchase energy from renewable or green sources in preference to fossil fuels,

              Purchase products that are free of heavy metals, per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), bisphenols, orthophthalates, flame retardants, and eliminate the use of other chemicals of concern where possible,

              Increase the use and availability of environmentally preferable products, services and distribution systems that protect human health and the environment,

              Support emerging and established manufacturers and vendors that reduce environmental and human health impacts in their services and production and distribution systems,

              Prioritize local markets where possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to transport, and

              Create a model for successfully purchasing environmentally preferable products and services that encourages other buyers and consumers in our community to adopt similar goals.


NOW, THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED, That the City Council hereby requests that the Office of Sustainability collaborate with the Purchasing Department, the Healthy Communities Office, the Providence Public School Department, and the food service management company to do a baseline assessment and inventory of product categories that pose the greatest threat to human health and the environment; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED​, That the City Council requests that the City of Providence’s Office of Sustainability and Purchasing Department investigate and draft an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy; and 


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That upon passage, copies of this resolution be sent to the Mayor of Providence, the Director of Sustainability, the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee (REJC), and the ​Environmental Sustainability Task Force​.