Using the power of procurement for a haz-free environment

Every day, municipal administrations and their sub-entities use a large variety of items that may contain hazardous substances including cleaning agents, office materials, ICT equipment, furniture, and construction materials. They may also use services for cleaning, disinfecting and maintenance of office premises, kitchens, schools, day care centres, swimming pools, sport centres, as well as for building construction and maintenance of public vehicle fleets – this list is by no means complete! From the everyday use of such products or services, a cocktail of hazardous substances enters municipal sewage systems and the natural environment. Some of these substances even evaporate directly into the air we breathe.

Municipalities are large buyers and important users of products and services – their overall purchasing power in each city is enormous. Getting public procurement tox-free will contribute to meaningful reductions of hazardous chemicals in municipalities. One efficient and sustainable way to do this is to develop tox-free public procurement criteria that favour products and materials without hazardous substances.

To find out more about using public procurement to get rid of hazardous substances read the full interview with Heidrun Fammler from the European Commission’s Green Public Procurement monthly News Alert.