What are Ecolabels and Green Certification Programs?
Ecolabels often are affixed to products by manufacturers to indicate that the products meet certain standards for a green certification program. These standards may be developed by private entities, public agencies under their authorities, or jointly by stakeholders and experts from the public and private sectors. Some certification programs are self-certifying, some require a “third party” to document that standards were met, and some are non-third party labeling programs (e.g, Design for the Environment (DFE)). A few of the most widely used certifying organizations employed by the Commonwealth are listed below.
Benefits of Ecolabeling
Certification programs help to differentiate products or services as environmentally preferable. It allows manufacturers to include a logo or "Eco-label" on a product and other marketing materials. Eco-labeling is an effective tool to market products to consumers and is an attribute used by the Commonwealth when evaluating products to be included on Statewide Contracts.
Buyers should be careful of false or misleading uses of environmental terms in product advertising and labeling (sometimes referred to as green washing). Environmental marketing claims are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission's Guides to the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (Green Guides). The Green Guides apply to all forms of product and service marketing to the public, including advertisements, labels, package inserts, promotional materials, and electronic media.
There are a number of electronic and online tools and calculators used to measure the environmental benefits and cost savings of switching to EPP products.
Energy Star Calculators : The Energy Star website contains a number of calculators that estimate the potential savings and payback period for purchases of energy efficient products..
Environmental Benefits Calculator: The Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. (NERC) developed this easy-to-use means of generating estimates of the environmental benefits of a study area, based on the tonnages of materials that are source reduced, reused, recycled, landfilled, or incinerated (includes waste-to-energy). The Calculator may be used to educate the public, legislators, and others about these benefits, assist state and municipal employees to better understand the impacts of their waste management programs, support market development efforts, and to increase the public's understanding of source reduction, reuse, and recycling as a sustainable environmental strategy.
EPEAT - Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool: A procurement tool to help purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare, and select desktop computers, tablets, and monitors based on their environmental attributes. EPEAT was developed through a three-year stakeholder process managed by Zero Waste Alliance, a non-profit organization.
Hybrid Calculator: This Calculator to compares hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and conventional vehicles. The calculator includes purchase price, fuel costs, repair and maintenance costs, resale value, and applicable tax incentives, and calculates expected lifetime costs for both vehicles.