The use of ecological products and services equates to making purchasing decisions with the environment in mind. Green Purchasing is the use of recycled content products, environmentally preferable products and services, biobased products, energy and water efficient products, alternative fuel vehicles, products using renewable energy, and alternatives to hazardous or toxic chemicals.
Did you know that the average worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year? And that every ton of recylced paper save approximately 4 barrels of oil and 4,200 kilowatt hours of energy. Additionally, by replacing one regular light bulb with a Compact Flourenscent Light (CFL) bulb would eliminate 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gases a year, the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road. Moreover, with the more than 70,000 cleaning chemicals in use today and fewer than two percent have been thoroughly tested for their effects on people and the environment.
In an effort to stress the urgency and seriousness of environmental, social, and economic issues confronting urban communities, the City of Long Beach in conjunction with business owners, restaurateurs, environmental experts, city officials and concerned individuals, shared their thoughts about waste reduction, discussed possible solutions and policy recommendations regarding eco-friendly products and services.
To date, Long Beach has made its mark as a leader in becoming a livable and sustainable city by accomplishing the following milestones:
In October 2007, the Environmental Committee convened to discuss, "How waste impacts a Livable City". At the conclusion of the meeting, the committee voted to draft a proposal to phase out and eventually ban plastic bags and the use of polystyrene in Long Beach.
In March 2008, the Sustainability City Commission also expressed support for staff's recommendation, to institute a citywide ban in year two and prepare vendors for the ban in year one.
On April 21, 2008, Mayor Bob Foster introduced a month-long green cleaning products pilot program within City Hall. During the month-long program green products were used on selective floors as an alternative to traditional cleaning products, in an effort to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals produced in our environment and to limit exposure of chemicals to city employees and City Hall patrons.
As recent as April 22, 2008, City Council unanimously voted to ban the use of expanded polystyrene in city facilities.
The City's Purchasing Agent is working on a "Green Catalog" to be used citywide to order office supplies.
Looking for ways you can assist in the effort? Always choose 100% post-consumer recycled paper; replace existing light bulbs with CFL bulbs; print on both sides of the paper and print only when necessary; start a recycling program in your home or business; look for the "Green Seal Certified" containers when purchasing household products, and use reusable bags and containers.