NYC Waste Prevention Coalition

DRAFT 2 proposal for amendments to Intro 29 of 2002

Environmental Procurement by New York City government


This bill; other bills

Intro 29 is environmentally preferred procurement (EPP) only, and has many provisions from Intro 509 of 1995, a few from Intro 482 of 1998.  There should be a separate bill on agency waste prevention practices based on Intro 482 and the Mayoral WP directive of 1996.  There should also be a separate bill on toxics procurement and handling, though language about handling of certain mercury-rich items should be in Intro 29 since they are So toxic, So prevalent, and inclusion in this round is probably achievable.  As for the 2 other procurement / packaging bills introduced in 2002, we didn’t really have time to review them in the one meeting we had.  Packaging is something that we recognize has been discussed since before the Waste Prevention Committee began to devise Intro 509 and is not something to be discussed quickly.


Contracts committee

Since it pertains to purchasing contracts, Intro 29 should also come through the Contracts Committee of the Council.  (I have since sent this info to Susan Russell, legislative aide to Councilmember Jackson, head of Contracts committee).  Having two committees support this legislation could help it get more attention (and get passed).


City purchase of our recycled glass

This is an excellent opportunity to put in specific requirements for the City to develop markets for recyclable glass from the City’s residential/institutional recyclables stream.  For example, the bill could require the City 1. to set specs for use of crushed glass as underbedding for roads to reduce potholes, 2. to require the City to use the City’s glass for this purpose by a particular date (if found to be feasible from an engineering standpoint).  Other examples of City government markets for our glass:  concrete, sandblasting, railroad/subway applications, DEP/piping applications.  The more specifics we can put in the bill about City markets for glass, the better.  In serving as market for our glass, the City can save money two ways:  reduce garbage export costs for wasted glass, reduce purchase costs for materials used in these applications presently.  We need to find and appropriate specs for these purposes from New Hampshire (which brought the benefits of using glass as underbedding of roads to the Recycling Roundtable), Pennsylvania (which has specifications for use of glass in engineering projects) and other governments.


City purchase of our recycled plastic

This is also an excellent opportunity to put in specific requirements for the City to develop markets for recyclable plastics from the City’s residential/institutional recyclables stream.  For example, the bill could require the City to set specs and require the City to use plastics for certain purposes (railroad, piers, etc).  The roundtable had a session on markets for plastics.


Use EPA’s Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines list

Section 16-322:   It is not enough to just remove obstacles related to procurement.    Proactively using the EPA CPG, comprehensive procurement guidelines, list, below.  Under RCRA Section 6002 local governments should be following procurement guidelines put out by the federal government. While it could be noted that there is currently no enforcement at the state and local levels because the federal government decided to get its own house in order first, NYC should be complying with the rules. Therefore City government under this section of the proposed law should be utilizing the federal comprehensive procurement guidelines and its list of products that could contain recovered materials.


Below is EPA’s list of categories of environmentally preferred purchasing.  We can make reference to these in Intro 29.


Purchase of DFE (Design for Environment) products

The City should purchase more products that are designed to use refillable, rechargeable, recycled, and less quantity of consumables, and that the products themselves are designed for repair and recycling.  There should be a preference for products that have universally available spare parts.  Examples of such DFE products would be duplex copiers and printers, computers, electronics, rechargeable batteries, refillable toner cartridges, etc.


Deadlines for implementing environmental purchasing

We agreed we want to resurrect provision 13-322.3 of Intro 509, stating that 20% of purchasing be environmental by a specific date, 30% by another date, and 40% by another date, because simply requiring DCAS to look into rewriting specs, in the general way provided for in the bill, does not assure that the City will actually move with any speed towards environmental purchasing.   The provision 13-322.3 in Intro 509 is on a totally different topic from the provision in Intro 29, so the resurrected provision can be given another number.)   We agreed it best to change reference to “dollar amount” of items purchased to number of items purchased in the preferred categories (see below for categories).  We thought this best since the market price for different commodities fluctuates so much that it could misrepresent results of trends in environmental purchasing.


Environmental Procurement Requirements for Vendors

Under Section 16-322.4 Requirements for vendors:

Add:    “Prevent waste to the extent practicable in performance of the contract

Propose use of recycled products to the extent practicable with particular attention to the current EPA comprehensive procurement guidelines list of products.”


Waste Prevention in Packaging

Under Section 16-322.4 b. Waste prevention in packaging:

Add:  “and for necessary packaging preference is for reusable, followed by recycled content packaging.”


Use of Warehoused Products

Under Section 16-322.5 d) 8.ii. p. 14. Reporting and planning. Add: “a means of facilitating the exchange, transport and reuse of durables between agencies” and a deadline for setting up this system.


Require use of EPP in construction services

Under Section 16-322.5 e) there is a definition of construction services here without any text indicating the intent related to procurement for these services.  As with provisions requiring DCAS to review and modify specs, and to implement EPP in a timely manner (dates and rates).


Reporting:  Relating environmental purchases to total purchases by category

We need to have a provision that requires annual reporting not only of the environmentally sound items purchased, but also the non-environmental purchasing done for each category so that it is clear the percentage for each category of items that is environmental purchasing.  Currently, the DCAS reports do not allow readers to understand whether the results achieved in environmental purchasing are noteworthy, as there is nothing to relate these numbers to.  More on which categories we designate is detailed below.  This belongs under Section 16-322.5 d) 6. p. 13.


Expand definition of toxics

Expand the definition of toxics in Intro 29.

Also, Section 16-322.5 d) 8.viii. p. 14. is a very important provision for a catalog of toxic products. However, once again, the toxics list under the definition is inadequate.


No purchase of products containing batteries that cannot be removed

Since these products are becoming more prevalent, and they prohibit even changing disposable batteries when they wear out, making the product and the battery disposable, purchase of these products should be prohibited by a certain date.


Proper purchase/handling of items containing concentrations of heavy metals

We agreed it would be a good idea to have a provision 13-322.3 to require proper handling (recycling?)  of fluorescent tubes, batteries, thermostats, thermometers.  Also, we should have nearby a provision that directs the City to purchase thermometers, batteries and other substitutes that have less or no heavy metals (e.g., digital thermometers, non-mercury batteries) by a certain date.  Although this is “practice” as well as procurement, we thought that the dangers involved, particularly with fluorescent tubes (the finding in Kathryn Freed’s garbage handling room of 24,000 ng/m3, as compared with a “safe” level of 300 ng/m3, and another study of mercury emissions from broken fluorescents showing a similar number at the site of breakage and 500 ng/m3 ten minutes later, half of a cross-town block away (source: industrial hygienist, Uday Singh), argued strongly for inclusion.  (Many garbage storage areas may be contaminated with mercury regularly, and may be a source of mercury contamination in apartment buildings.)  Thus, we recommend that the provision require that any product the City purchases, which contains significant (to be defined) quantities of heavy metals (mercury, cadmium, lead, chromium, arsenic at least) should receive storage and handling as a hazardous waste, and recycling to the greatest extent feasible.  The City should look to identify environmentally safe places for recycling the heavy metals from these items.  Until safe recycling locations are found, these items should be disposed of as hazardous waste.  There should be a means of requiring the City to recycle these items at the earliest possible date.