Sustainable contracting and procurement in Washington is helping to benefit both the economy and the environment while reducing costs and improving efficiency. DES oversees many state master contracts that are used by state agencies as well as local governments and others with master contract usage agreements. Here are just a few examples:
The State of Washington has developed and manages a nationwide contract for vehicle glass repair/replacement where recycling is a major factor in sustainability and cost avoidance. Through the contractor, we are on pace to recycle 32,000 tons of used glass nationwide in 2016 – that's more than two times the weight of the Washington State Capitol Dome. This glass is used in many different industries like fiberglass insulation production. The proceeds from the recycled glass offset transportation costs and also lower the cost of finished product to customers. This program prevents this material from going to local landfills.
The state master contract for tire retreading and wheel refurbishing services prolongs the life of tires and wheels, lowering lifetime acquisition costs for state agencies and reducing waste, material use and energy consumption. A retreaded tire takes only seven gallons of oil to make, compared to 22 gallons of oil to make a new tire. Retreaded tires cost 30 to 50 percent less than buying new tires.
DES monitors changes in the biodiesel and fuel markets and works to provide competitively priced biodiesel fuel products that keep current with agency needs and the marketplace. As an example, from 2009 to 2015 biodiesel purchased by Washington agencies increased by 525 percent, from 200,000 gallons to 1.049 million gallons.
The state master contract for recycling electronic and spent lighting materials protects public health and the environment by reducing the need to dispose of hazardous waste like mercury and lead. The contract covers statewide collection and disposal of all types of electronics and most lighting lamps. Agencies using the contract receive recycling kits for electronics and lighting for easy shipping.
This contract features lighting products with the lowest-ever mercury content. The contract strengthens requirements for state agencies and the contractor to work together with the state's recycling contractor reach a goal of 100 percent recycling of spent lamps and bulbs.
The routine operation and maintenance of state property results in scrap metal that is a mixture of steel, sheet metal, tin, miscellaneous hardware and non-ferrous metal. The state master contract for the removal, disposal, and sale of publicly-owned scrap metal diverts such materials from landfills.
It does not take an overhaul of a state's laws or policies to find innovative ways to incorporate green purchasing practices. Small efforts often add up to make a very large difference. In fact, even one procurement professional can make a substantial difference. For example, the contracts specialist, who manages the asphalt bulk products contract worked with the contractor and primary user, the Washington State Department of Transportation, to replace traditional packaging material that required disposal with a meltable packaging material that reduces costs as well as environmental impacts. More than 1,500 pounds of cardboard waste is saved with each truckload, reducing shipping costs, impact to landfills and labor required for unpacking.