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RPN and Massachusetts Win Award for Nation's Largest Green Cleaning Supplies Contract

May 26, 2016

Source: RPN

2016 SPLC AwardAt its 2016 Annual Summit, the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) gave its Leadership Award for
a Special Sustainable Purchasing Initiative
to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Responsible Purchasing Network (RPN) for their collaborative effort creating the nation’s largest multi-state contract for environmentally preferable cleaning supplies and equipment.

This cooperative purchasing agreement, called FAC85: Environmentally Preferable Cleaning Products, Programs, Equipment and Supplies Statewide Contract, was developed by five Northeastern States (MA, NY, CT, VT and RI) with technical support from RPN. 37 vendors submitted bids and, in March 2015, price agreements were awarded to 15 suppliers, which cumulatively offer more than 13,000 green cleaning products. In addition, according to Julia Wolfe, Environmental Purchasing Coordinator for the Massachusetts Operational Services Division (MA OSD, the central procurement agency for the state), “vendors may add products that meet the specifications outlined in the contract, enabling them to respond to user needs as the demand and availability of green product and service offerings grow.” 

“We are grateful to have been given the opportunity to work closely with one of the nation’s leaders in sustainable procurement on this model green cleaning supplies contract,” said Alicia Culver, RPN’s Executive Director. “We also appreciate receiving this award from SPLC based on a jury of our peers,” she said. 

To develop this contract, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts – lead by MA OSD’s Director of Environmental Purchasing – assembled a diverse Sourcing Team that engaged staff from its procurement, environmental protection, health and end-using agencies (such as corrections and facilities). It also involved the procurement and environmental protection agencies of neighboring states – notably New York – as well as Sharon Public Schools, and three nonprofits (the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute, MassCOSH and RPN) in the contract development process.

RPN worked closely with the FAC85 Sourcing Team to:
  • Analyze historical spend data from the participating states to define the scope of the contract.

  • Draft model green janitorial supplies specifications (referencing third-party multi-attribute certifications such as Green Seal and UL EcoLogo, whenever applicable), building on another all-green contract RPN helped Oregon and Washington states to create in 2013.  

  • Develop a core/market basket list of over 150 products that meet the contract’s environmental and health specifications for each category of janitorial supplies offered on the contract. This included, but was not limited to, certified low-toxicity general purpose cleaners, hand soaps, floor maintenance chemicals, specialty cleaners, deicers, and janitorial paper products; disinfectants and sanitizers devoid of chemicals that can cause cancer or asthma; recycled-content waste recycling containers, trash can liners and floor stripping pads; microfiber mops, and high-efficiency vacuums, floor scrubbers and hand dryers.

  • Create a vendor survey to assess each firm’s green cleaning experience and training methods as well as their product labeling, packaging, transportation and recycling services.

  • Conduct and in-depth evaluation of three prominent third-party certifications for green cleaners – Green Seal, UL EcoLogo and US EPA’s Design for the Environment (now called Safer Choice) – based on dozens of criteria.

  • Evaluate the 37 incoming bids to determine compliance with the RFP’s mandatory requirements (including product specifications) and identify firms offering the largest supply of certified green cleaning products, the most attractive pricing, and the strongest qualifications (which contributed to contract awards based on a “Best Value” determination).
Julia Wolfe and Alicia Culver

The level of detail and thought put into all the categories of the FAC85 specifications could not have been done without RPN’s guidance and assistance.  Their understanding of the market for green products was invaluable in putting together a contract that works AND has the ability to grow.” Julia Wolfe, Director of Environmental Purchasing for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

An important and innovative aspect of the FAC85 contract development process involved giving vendors a significant number of points in the bid evaluation process for demonstrating substantial experience training custodial staff about green cleaning products and practices. “Training and technical assistance by vendors to transition facilities to a green cleaning program were a requirement of the new contract,” explained Julia Wolfe. By recognizing the importance of training, Massachusetts expects to see an increase in utilization of the products and services on this green cleaning contract, laying a strong foundation for the size of the contract to grow over time.

Contract User GuideShortly after the contract was awarded, MA OSD published a handy FAC85 User Guide, which explains how the contract was developed and who can use the resulting price 
agreements.  It also provides a detailed list of products and services that are offered on the contract as well as contact information for each of the firms that received an award.
Eligible users include state agencies, local governments, public authorities, public hospitals and higher education institutions, public purchasing cooperatives, nonprofit organizations, and janitorial service firms that have a contract with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition, state agencies and other public entities in New York and Connecticut can automatically use FAC85 because their states have signed a participating agreement. Moreover, public entities in other states can use this contract with written permission from MA OSD. If your jurisdiction or institution is interested in exploring whether the FAC85 contract would meet your need for green cleaning products at discounted prices, send an email to Julia Wolfe at

Since FAC85 was awarded, both Massachusetts and New York have been tracking the types and quantities of products that have been purchased by using it. Using that information, MA OSD, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and RPN have been able to quantify several environmental and economic benefits of this sustainable procurement initiative. This includes a cost savings of nearly $3 million due to negotiated price discounts of approximately 25% for a wide variety of green cleaning supplies and equipment. Additional environmental, health and financial benefits of FAC85 include: 
  • Over $300,000 in water conservation-related savings from the use of microfiber mops and foaming hand soap (replacing cotton mops and lotion hand soaps);

  • Energy savings and associated GHG reductions from the purchase of more energy-efficient cleaning equipment and hand dryers;

  • Elimination of chemicals of concern (e.g., Triclosan, a toxic chemical found in antibacterial hand soaps and dish detergents as well as asthma-causing chemicals in conventional surface disinfectants such as chlorine bleach and quaternary ammonium chloride compounds (“quats”); 

  • Reduction in hazardous materials released into the environment; and 

  • Significant usage of products with recycled content such as janitorial paper products, trash can liners, recycling bins, and floor stripping pads.
MA OSD reported the preliminary results of the FAC85 contract in its Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Report


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