Responsible Purchasing Network


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RPN’s Green Hardware Supplies Project

The Responsible Purchasing Network’s (RPN) Green Hardware Supplies Project helps government agencies, public institutions, and businesses identify and purchase environmentally preferable hardware supplies. Product categories addressed by the project include ENERGY STAR-certified lighting equipment and appliances; rechargeable batteries; certified low-toxicity cleaners, floor maintenance chemicals, hand soap,s and paint; recycled-content trash bags, recycling bins, and janitorial paper products; water conservation devices; and other facility maintenance products that offer environmental and/or health benefits.

green hardware supplies

RPN kicked off the project in 2013 by creating a set of Green Hardware Supplies fact sheets and hosting a webinar on this topic with support from the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). These resources highlight products with legitimate — and often third party-verified — green claims that are available from three major institutional vendors of Facilities Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) Supplies: Grainger, Fastenal, and MSC Industrial Supplies.

green hardware supplies

RPN is working to “green” these Facilities MRO contracts because thousands of public agencies and institutions across the United States purchase hardware supplies from one or more of these vendors — often by using price agreements developed by the WSCA-NASPO Cooperative Purchasing Organization or another cooperative purchasing organization.

The Facilities MRO contracts offer some products that enable government agencies, educational institutions, and businesses to conserve energy and water, reduce toxic exposures to facility staff, and create markets for recyclable materials. At the same time, these contracts offer a much wider array of competing products that are less efficient, contain ingredients known to cause cancer or asthma, or are made without sustainable materials.

“We see a tremendous opportunity to use our collective purchasing power to convince vendors of hardware supplies to offer a more robust supply of certified low-toxicity and energy-efficient products and to more clearly label these 'green' items so they can be more easily identified by purchasing agents,” explained Alicia Culver, RPN’s Executive Director. “We also want hardware suppliers to stop offering competing products that are not certified by the ENERGY STAR Program, Green Seal, UL Environment, or other third-party verifiers of environmentally preferable products,” she added.

In 2015, RPN will expand the project by helping its members implement a variety of green procurement initiatives designed to significantly increase the amount green hardware supplies they purchase and measure the resulting environmental, health and economic benefits. If you are interested in participating in this project, please contact RPN at

Additional Green Hardware Supplies Resources

Fair Trade Purchasing Guide for Cities and Towns

Fastenal Green Catalog and green product website link:

Fair Trade Purchasing Guide for Cities and Towns Grainger Sustainability E-Catalog and green product website link:

Fair Trade Purchasing Guide for Colleges and Universities MSC Industrial Supply Green Catalog: MSC Supply Green Choices Today and green product website link: