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August 7, 2023

EPA Announces First Product Categories for Expansion of Ecolabel Recommendations for Federal Purchasing

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On August 1, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first five product and service categories chosen for the expansion of its Recommendations of Specifications, Standards, and Ecolabels for Federal Purchasing (Recommendations). EPA notes that this action supports the broader effort announced last year to expand the Recommendations by assessing additional standards and ecolabels. EPA states that later in 2023, it anticipates announcing the standards and ecolabels that pass the assessment and will be included in the Recommendations. EPA plans to consider additional product and service categories as resources allow.
EPA states that its Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) program’s Recommendations help U.S. federal government purchasers identify private sector standards and ecolabels to meet sustainable acquisition goals and mandates. They currently include more than 40 private sector environmental performance standards and ecolabels in over 30 purchase categories. The five product and service categories are:

  • Food Service Ware (e.g., containers, cutlery, and dishware);
  • Healthcare;
  • Laboratories;
  • Professional Services; and
  • Uniforms and Clothing.

According to EPA, the expansion of the Recommendations is a key step toward implementing President Biden’s Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability, as well as the accompanying Federal Sustainability Plan. EPA notes that the plan set ambitious goals, such as achieving net-zero emissions from federal procurement by 2050, maximizing the procurement of sustainable products and services, including products made with safer chemical ingredients.
As reported in our November 7, 2022, blog item, in November 2022, EPA launched the process to expand the Recommendations, inviting representatives of private sector environmental performance standards and ecolabels to apply for potential assessment and inclusion in the Recommendations, resulting in the five product and service categories announced on August 1, 2023. EPA notes that representatives of standards and ecolabels within any of the selected product and service categories above who have not yet applied may contact EPA at to request information on eligibility and how to participate. EPA plans to announce additional product and service categories as resources allow.