Why we buy sustainable products
Brad Russell, the Sustainable Acquisition Program manager, wants employees to know buying green is more than a saying; it is a way of life at Pantex and Y-12.
As a government contractor, Consolidated Nuclear Security is required to abide by government regulations. One requirement is purchasing sustainable products, which provides opportunities for CNS to make positive choices for the environment.
CNS's newest Sustainable Acquisition Program manager, Brad Russell, is one of those experts guiding those purchases. “It is great when CNS and the sites are recognized for the outstanding work they do in achieving sustainability,” Russell said.
According to Russell, when CNS purchases sustainable products, “we’re not only making better choices, but we’re showing CNS's commitment to our environment. Purchasing sustainable products helps to establish a healthier environment for employees because we’re eliminating products that off gas, like cleaning products, flooring, and paint; reducing the amount of hazardous material on site; and reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide that causes climate change.”
It all adds up because the federal government is the single largest consumer in the world. “Federal sustainable purchasing is a big business,” Russell said. “Products range from remanufactured toner cartridges, post-consumer 100% recycled content paper, green electronics, bio-based cleaning products, compostable or biodegradable food containers, and non-toxic construction material.”
GreenBuy Award Winners
Congratulations to Pantex and Y-12 on each receiving a GreenBuy Award for purchasing achievement in FY 2022.
Pantex received the silver level for purchasing six priority products in four categories.
Y-12 received the gold level for purchasing 10 priority products in six categories.
This fiscal year, Russell and his program have set several goals, including increased purchasing of bio-based and recycled content. “In FY23, we want to introduce at least ten new sustainable products, issue a user-friendly quick reference guide that highlights sustainable products readily available, and replace some flooring [at Y-12] with sustainable flooring.”
When looking to buy products, at work or at home, Russell encourages checking out the product description. “Most items have a description that tells you if it is bio-based or made with recycled content,” he said.
The team tracks purchases of sustainable products at Y-12. “We like to know if you liked it, did not like it, and why. This information helps us in recommending products for future users as well as providing feedback to our vendors.”
The data collected on purchases is also used to track how well CNS and its sites do in meeting those government expectations and to show how the program has grown. Both Pantex and Y-12 have received several awards for purchasing sustainable products, with the U.S. Department of Energy GreenBuy Awards being the most recent example. This program recognizes DOE sites for excelling in their “green purchasing” and going above compliance requirements.
“Being recognized by DOE shows they recognize CNS goes beyond the requirements. The Sustainable Acquisition Program is here to make a difference and figure out what purchases can change and be more sustainable,” Russell said. “Submitting award nominations and being recognized for our efforts is really rewarding.”