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February 2, 2024

EPA Enhances Online Search Tool for Ecolabel Recommendations in Federal Purchasing

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched enhancements to an online search tool for its Recommendations of Specifications, Standards, and Ecolabels for Federal Purchasing on January 30, 2024. According to EPA, the search tool makes it easier to view and sort standards and ecolabels that EPA recommends U.S. federal government purchasers use to meet sustainable acquisition goals and mandates. The search tool allows users to identify the types of products or services covered by an ecolabel or standard, provides information on product and supplier availability, and links to product registries. EPA notes that the tool “also includes a new feature to highlight how the standards and ecolabels address per- or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and plastics reduction.” EPA states that “[c]consistent with the federal government’s goal to avoid procurement of products containing any type of PFAS, EPA will no longer highlight ecolabels or standards that only address individual chemicals like PFOA and/or PFOS.”

In “the coming months,” EPA intends to issue a Federal Register notice requesting public comment on additional planned updates to the Recommendations. According to EPA, these updates are the result of the implementation of new eligibility criteria announced in April 2022 and the assessment of standards/ecolabels in the first five product and service categories announced in August 2023. Standard and ecolabel organizations applied to be assessed against EPA’s Framework for the Assessment of Environmental Performance Standards and Ecolabels in these categories and will be proposed to be added to the Recommendations if EPA determines they meet all applicable criteria within the Framework. More information on the first product categories for expansion of the Recommendations is available in our August 7, 2023, blog item.