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Doing Business with the County

Environmental Purchasing Definitions

Environmental Purchasing terms reprinted from Environmental Purchasing Policies 101: An Overview of Current Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policies, developed for Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
Acute toxicity –
Capable of producing illness from a single dose or minimal exposure.

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Bioaccumulate –
Ability of some substances to collect in plant and animal tissue. These substances increase in concentration as they pass through the food chain when the plants and animals are consumed by larger animals (such as humans).
Biobased product –
Products produced from renewable plant and animal sources. They are generally presumed to be more environmentally benign than their petroleum based counterparts, although this is not necessarily true. They are usually biodegradable and can be returned to the earth at the end of their useful life or recycled and used again. As defined by the US Farm Security and Rural Investment Act (FSRIA), a biobased product is a product determined by the US Secretary of Agriculture to be a commercial or industrial product (other than food or feed), that is composed in whole or in significant part, of biological products or renewable domestic agricultural materials (including plant, animal and marine materials) or forestry materials.
Biodegradable –
the ability of a substance to decompose in the natural environments into harmless raw materials. To be truly biodegradable, a substance or material should break down into carbon dioxide (a nutrient for plants), water, and naturally occurring minerals that also do not cause harm to the ecosystem. In terms of environmental benefits, a product should take months or years, and not centuries, to biodegrade.
Buyer –
Anyone authorized to purchase on behalf of the organization or its subdivisions.

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Carcinogen –
A substance known to cause cancer in humans.
Chlorine free –
Manufactured without chlorine or chlorine derivatives.
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) –
Any of a group of compounds that contain carbon, chlorine, fluorine, and sometimes hydrogen and have been used as refrigerants, cleaning solvents, aerosol propellants and in the manufacture of plastic foams. The uses of CFCs are being phased out because they destroy the plant's stratospheric ozone protection layer.
Chronic health risks –
Detrimental, long term health effects from repeated exposure to a product.
Chronic toxicity –
Capable of producing illness form repeated exposure
Compostable –
A product that can be placed into a composition of decaying biodegradable materials and eventually turn into a nutrient-rich material. It is synonymous with "biodegradable", except it is limited to solid materials (liquid products are not considered compostable).
Cooperative purchasing –
System for allowing organizations to combine their purchasing power in order to negotiate better prices and reduce the purchasing costs of a formal bid process.

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Durable –
A product that remains useful and usable for a long time without noticeable deterioration in performance.

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Energy efficient product –
A product that is in the upper 25 percent of energy efficiency for all similar products, or that is at least 10 percent more efficient than the minimum level meeting US federal government standards.
Environmentally preferable products and services –
Products and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products and services that serve the same purpose. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance and/or disposal of the product or service.
Extended producer responsibility –
A product and waste management system in which manufacturers and consumers take responsibility for the environmentally safe management of products once the products reaches the end of their useful life. As the manufacturers have the greatest ability to influence product design, they have the greatest responsibility for the product's end of life reuse, refurbish, recycling, or legal disposal. Retailer "take back" or "mail back" programs are two such examples.

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Flashpoint –
The minimum temperature at which a liquid gives off a vapor in sufficient concentration to ignite.
Full-cost accounting –
Accounting for the economic, environmental, land use, human health, social and heritage costs and benefits of a particular decision or action to ensure no costs associated with the decision or action, including externalized costs, are left unaccounted. (Compare with Lifecycle Cost and Product Life cycle.)

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Greenhouse gases –
Any of several dozen heat-trapping trace gases in the earth's atmosphere that absorb infrared radiation. The two major greenhouse gases are water vapor and carbon dioxide; lesser greenhouse gases include methane, ozone (O3), CFCs, and nitrogen oxides.

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LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system –
A self-assessment system developed by the US Green Building Council <www.usgbc.org> for rating the environmental preferability of new and existing commercial, institution, and high-rise residential buildings.
Life cycle cost –
The amortized annual cost of a product or service, including capital costs, installation costs, operating costs, maintenance costs, and end of useful life costs discounted over the lifetime of the product or service. (Compare with Product Life cycle.)

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Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) –
Written or printed material about a product that includes information on though product's physical and chemical characteristics; physical and health hazards; precautions for safe handling and use; control measures; emergency and first aid procedures; the date of preparation of the MSDS or the last change to it; and the name, address, and telephone number of the manufacturer.
Mutagen –
Substance that causes mutations, changes to genetic material in the body.

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Persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic compounds (PBT's) –
Toxic chemicals that persist in the environment and increase in concentration through food chains as larger animals consume PBT-laden smaller animals. They transfer rather easily among air, water, and land, and span boundaries of programs, geography, and generations. As a result, PBTs pose risks to human health and ecosystems. They are associated with a range of adverse human health effects, including effects on the nervous system, reproductive and developmental problems, cancer, and genetic impact. They include heavy metals and chemicals such s mercury, dioxins, and PCB's (polychlorinated biphenyls).
Post-consumer recycled content –
Percentage of a product made from materials and byproducts recovered or diverted from the solid waste stream after having completed their usefulness as consumer items and used in place of raw or virgin material. Post-consumer recycled content includes materials (such as paper, bottles, and cans) collected for recycling.
Practicable –
Sufficient in performance and available at a reasonable price.
Preconsumer materials –
Recovered materials that were production finished materials, products or byproducts that did not reach the consumer for whose use they were intended, and have been diverted from the solid waste stream for the purposes of collection, recycling, and disposition.
Price preference –
A percentage by which offered prices for recycled products are reduced for purposes of bid evaluation. For example, under a 5 percent price preference, if a bid of $1.00 per unit is received for an environmentally preferable product meeting specifications, the bid price will be reduced by $0.05 (5 percent) and evaluated as though it had been for $0.95. If this bid results in a contract award the price actually contracted will be the bid price of $1.00 per unit.
Product life cycle –
The culmination of environmental impacts for a product, including raw material acquisition, manufacturing, distribution, use, maintenance, and end of useful life or ultimate disposal of the product. (Compare with Life cycle cost.)

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Recyclable product –
a product that after its intended end use can be diverted from the solid waste stream for use as a raw material in the manufacture of another product.
Recovered materials –
Waste materials and by-products that have been recovered or diverted from the solid waste stream.
Recycled materials –
Material and byproducts that have been recovered or diverted from solid waste and have been utilized in place of raw or virgin material in manufacturing a product. It is derived form post-consumer recycled materials, manufacturing waste, industrial scrap, agricultural waste, and other waste material, but does not include material or byproducts generated from, and commonly reused within, an original manufacturing process.
Refurbished product –
A product that has been completely disassembled and restored to its original working order while maximizing the reuse of its original materials.
Renewable materials –
Materials made from plant-based feedstock capable of regenerating in less than 200 years, such as trees and agricultural products. Rapidly renewable resources, such as grain-based feedstocks, regenerate in less than two years.

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Sustainable –
An action is sustainable if it satisfied present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

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Teratogen –
A substance that adversely affects fetal development.

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Upgradeable product –
The ability to increase a product's performance or features without replacing the product.

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Virgin material –
Any material occurring in its natural form. Virgin material is used in the form of raw material in the manufacture of new products.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) –
Chemicals that readily evaporate and contribute to the formation of air pollution when released into the atmosphere. May VOCs are classified as toxic and carcinogenic.

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Water efficient –
A product that is in the upper 25 percent of water efficiency for all similar products, or that is at least 10 percent more efficient than the minimum level meeting US federal government standards.

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Contact Information

Contact us by Phone
Address
La Plaza A
2300 County Center Drive
Suite A208
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.46242, -122.725426

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Bid opportunities and solicitation events are available in our Supplier Portal

 

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