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Green Purchasing Protocols

Staff Guidelines

Plastic Water Bottles: City departments are prohibited from purchasing individual-serving plastic water bottles for use within City facilities, meetings, and other City-sponsored events (See Green Purchasing Policy for more details). Instead, departments are encouraged to buy pitchers and reusable cups whenever possible! Unable to use reusable cups because of the size of the event? Try sparkling water that comes in a can! Aluminum has a higher percentage of recyclable content versus plastic, making it a greener alternative. Interested in receiving funding to purchase reusable equipment? Contact the Sustainability Department!

Office Paper and Note Pads: City staff are encouraged to save as much paper as possible! Remember to think twice about printing. City department purchasers should also buy paper products with a minimum of 30% post-consumer content with no chlorine bleach. Also, ensure that the paper includes “post-consumer recycled content” or PCW certification to ensure that the products have recycled content This will be enforced through the SB 1383 mandate.

For streamlined purchasing of SB 1383 compliant paper products, the City’s Amazon Business account has been updated with a list of pre-selected compliant paper products, from copy paper to tissues and notebooks. In your Amazon Business account, click “Lists” in the upper righthand navigation bar to find a list titled “Preferred Paper Products.” Items on this list should additionally appear first in searches for that type of product.

Reusable Foodware Ordinance: The Reusable Foodware Ordinance, adopted by the City of San Rafael in 2022, requires all San Rafael businesses serving food to provide reusable or 100% compostable foodware. As City employees, we must also comply with this ordinance. When ordering food for a city event, make sure to specify that the food should be provided in 100% compostable packaging that is compliant with the Reusable Foodware Ordinance. To additionally reduce your impact, contact the sustainability department to provide reusable silverware for your event. An up to date list of compliant foodware can be found here.

Composting:  City facilities are getting composting bins! It is required by state mandate that all jurisdictions compost their green waste, both at work and at home. Need some help with what goes in the compost bin? Check out the attached file “Compost” to learn more. Please print it out and place it near your closest compost bin to help fellow staff. Would your department like more guidance? Contact the Sustainability Department to set up a compost training session for your department!

  • The Green Purchasing Policy (Janitorial) provides guidelines to purchase janitorial chemicals, soaps and cleaning products that are Green Seal certified.
  • The Green Purchasing Policy (Office Supplies) provides guidelines for staff to purchase products containing recycled content or re-manufactured products. NOTE: The paper product section of this policy is out of date. Please refer to SB 1383 regulations above.

Please, contact the Sustainability Team if you have any questions or need help!

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