Thurston County, WA Sustainability Policy

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Thurston County, WA, US

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Type: Resolution

Status: Adopted on 2/12/07

Source File:


A RESOLUTION approving the Environmental Sustainability Policy to replace the Recycle Product Procurement Policy.

WHEREAS, the growth of Thurston County's economy and the quality of life, health, and safety of its citizens are dependent on the careful stewardship of natural resources and protection of the environment; and

WHEREAS, the daily activities and routine operations of the County have a significant impact on the quality of Thurston County's environment and use of its natural resources; and

WHEREAS, the County is a highly visible model for Thurston County's citizens, businesses, industries, and local governments; and

WHEREAS, the County can demonstrate leadership by incorporating environmentally sustainable practices into its operations that preserve natural resources, conserve energy, eliminate waste and emissions, and lessen overall environmental impact; and

WHEREAS, waste source reduction, reuse, and recycling constitute key components of environmental sustainability; and

WHEREAS, the County is a large consumer of goods and services, which, in the course oftheir manufacture, use, and disposition impact the quality of the environment; and

WHEREAS the procurement of environmentally sound goods and services by the County can serve to protect health and safety, reduce energy consumption, conserve natural resources, prevent pollution, and promote markets for recyclable materials.


Section 1. PURPOSE. This Resolution strongly recommends that all County Departments and Offices maximize their efforts to develop and implement environmentally sustainable policies and practices. Specifically, agencies will strive to:

a. consider and minimize the environmental impacts associated with construction, facility management, and employee transportation;

b. reduce and recycle material recoverable from solid waste originating at their facilities and from new construction and renovation of existing facilities;

c. procure goods and services that reduce the impact on human health and the environment, including products made wholly, or in part, from the least toxic ingredients and highest (post-consumer content) recycled materials; and,

d. encourage and promote conservation of energy through reducing wasteful, inefficient or uneconomical uses of energy resources and to procure the most energy efficient products available for county buildings.


a. County Departments and Offices, all part of or under the Board of Thurston County Commissioners, (herein known as agencies), will be responsible for implementing programs to make their operations environmentally sustainable, including, but not limited to, programs to reduce and recycle solid wastes and procure environmentally preferable goods and services. Such programs will be consistent with and as comprehensive as described in this Resolution.

b. Each agency will designate an Environmental Sustainability Coordinator to direct sustainability activities including coordinating and overseeing its waste reduction, recycling, and environmental procurement programs, and serving as a liaison with the Department of Water and Waste Management, Solid Waste Team (Solid Waste) and Public Health and Social Services, Environmental Health Division (Environmental Health) who oversee the program.

c. Solid Waste and Environmental Health will provide technical assistance, education, and training to agencies on these matters. The Solid Waste Division will serve as a central point of information and coordination for all agency environmental sustainability efforts.

d. As provided in this Resolution, the agencies will aggressively explore opportunities for procuring goods and services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment.

Agency environmental sustainability efforts will focus primarily on the operations of County owned facilities and leased spaces. Agencies will assess the impacts of facility daily operations, management, and capital improvement projects as they pertain to health and safety, environmental quality, land use, and resource conservation.

a. Capital improvements: Agencies will seek opportunities to reduce environmental impacts associated with capital improvements throughout project planning, site and building design, and construction. Agencies will implement project initiatives or modifications that result in energy efficiency, water conservation, pollution prevention, solid waste reduction, and preservation of land and native plants during the construction and operation of agency facilities. This will be accomplished by requiring that all new public buildings of more than 5,000 square feet, as well as major renovation projects, meet the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standards, as is now required for all Washington State buildings, pursuant to Senate Bill 5509 signed into law on April 8, 2005.

b. Facilities management: Agencies will seek to integrate into the daily operations and management of County-owned and leased facilities, practices that enhance health and safety, reduce consumption of energy and fuels, conserve water, minimize emissions, and reduce solid and hazardous wastes. Agencies will give consideration to these practices, to the extent feasible and practicable, as criteria for entering into lease agreements or contracts for maintenance and landscaping services. Agencies will utilize the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Environmental Design (LEED) Existing Building Operations Rating System as a guideline for measuring operations, improvements, and maintenance on a consistent scale.

c. County Vehicle Maintenance: County fleet maintenance will include available product alternatives that meet required automotive specifications, which may include, but are not limited to: aqueous parts cleaning and brake washing, recycled antifreeze, rerefined motor oil, alternative fuels, lead-free wheel weights, and retread tires.


a. Source reduction: To encourage reduction of waste at its source, Agencies will review their operations to determine where solid waste can be reduced at its source. Specific measures agencies will employ to reduce waste at the source include, but are not limited to, those identified in this Section.

(1) Reduction of office paper waste
(a) Printing and photocopying: agencies will avoid unnecessary printing or photocopying of printed materials; and will require two-sided copying on all documents, when feasible, and practicable. To the extent feasible, all new and re-manufactured photocopy machines and laser printers purchased will have duplexing capabilities.
(b) Use of electronic communication: agencies will, to the extent feasible, use electronic media such as voice mail, e-mail, servers, and the Internet to circulate or distribute routine announcements, memoranda, documents, reports, forms, manuals, and publications.
(2) Product necessity, durability, packaging, and recyclability: agencies will discourage the use of disposable products where reusable products are available and economically viable for use. Furthermore, agencies will assess their waste generation with regard to purchasing decisions and make every attempt to purchase items only when needed and in amounts that are not excessive. When purchases are necessary, agencies will, to the extent feasible and practicable, acquire items that are more durable, have minimal packaging, or are readily recyclable or re-useable when discarded.

b. Collection programs for recyclable materials.

(1) Agencies, with assistance from Solid Waste, will ensure that employees have access to containers for recycling (at a minimum) aluminum cans, high-grade office paper, and corrugated cardboard.
(2) agencies' facilities that routinely host the general public, will implement programs for the collection of recyclable materials discarded by the public at all such locations (e.g., aluminum, glass, and plastic beverage containers). Agencies will work closely with the appropriate local government agencies and Solid Waste when developing and implementing these recycling programs.
(3) Agencies that operate or contract for the operation of food service establishments for the public, employees, and/or inmates (snack bars, cafeterias, dining halls, etc) are encouraged to implement programs to recover and recycle leftover food and to eliminate the use of disposable dishes and utensils when practicable and feasible. When disposable food service items must be used, alternatives to expandable polystyrene (commonly known by the trade name Styrofoam) will be used.

c. Education of agency employees: It will be the duty of each agency to educate and encourage employee participation in agency waste reduction and recycling programs. Solid Waste and Environmental Health will assist agencies in developing and implementing educational programs.

As a component of their environmental sustainability efforts and to help develop markets for recyclable materials, agencies will procure and use environmentally preferable goods and services, including products made wholly or in part from least toxic ingredients or recycled materials, whenever feasible and practicable. Environmentally preferable products have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment in their manufacture, use, and disposal when compared with other products that serve the same purpose. Agencies will give consideration to environmentally preferable products that are more energy efficient, least toxic, less polluting, and which generate less waste overall. For all purchases, the Thurston County purchasing and contracting policies, located in the Thurston County Administrative Manual, must be followed.

a. Purchases of environmentally preferable and recycled-content products

(1) With assistance provided by Solid Waste and Environmental Health, agencies will identify environmentally preferable goods and services and products made from recycled materials highest in post-consumer content that meet appropriate standards for use by County agencies. When environmentally preferable and recycled-content products are offered that are comparable in quality, availability, and price to products not having environmental attributes, the environmentally preferable products will be purchased.
(2) All agencies will require all businesses to provide, in writing, the minimum percentage, if not the exact percentage, of post-consumer and secondary materials in the applicable products, goods, or supplies offered or sold. With this information and their own research, Solid Waste and Environmental Health will prepare an electronic listing of environmentally preferable and recycled-content products sources and make it available to all County staff via the Intranet.
(3) With assistance provided by Solid Waste and Environmental Health, agencies will utilize product specifications that encourage vendors to offer environmentally preferable and recycled-content products. Specifications will be written to ensure that they do not contain restrictive language or other barriers to purchasing environmentally preferable or recycled content products, unless such specifications are necessary to protect public health, safety, or welfare.
(4) All electronic office equipment, including but not limited to computers, monitors, printers, scanners, photocopy machines, facsimile machines, and other such equipment purchased by County agencies will be Energy Star® compliant.
(5) Agencies will give priority consideration to the purchase of fleet vehicles that use less-polluting fuels and that have the highest available miles per gallon rating.

b. Purchases of recycled paper

(1) Agencies are directed to purchase and use a minimum of 30% recycled content, bleach-free paper for all letterhead stationery, reports, memoranda, and other documents, used by County staff or printed by County or outside vendors when feasible and practicable. All new and remanufactured photocopy machines and laser printers purchased will have the ability to use xerographic paper having at least 50% recycled content, 30% of which should be post-consumer content.
(2) Agencies will attempt to meet the goal that 100% of the total dollar value of expenditures for paper and paper products be toward purchases of paper and paper products with recycled content when recycled content is available. In addition, County agencies will attempt, to the extent feasible and practicable, to purchase recycled paper and paper products with the highest percentage of post consumer content.

c. Guidelines and criteria: Solid Waste and Environmental Health will develop criteria for determining the environmental preferability of goods and services and...

Note: For some odd reason, the last page of the document does not allow for text extraction. In over 1,700 entries, we've never run into this problem before. Needless to say, you'll have to access the source file to read the last one-half page.