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AbilityOne Program

AbilityOne is Environmentally Responsible

The AbilityOne® Program fully supports the spirit and the letter of the law when it comes to being a responsible provider of products and services to our Federal customers. As a mandatory source of supply, AbilityOne Program participants are in a unique position to assist agencies in accomplishing their environmental goals. AbilityOne Program leadership is well versed in Federal environmental initiatives and is cognizant of the impact their decisions have on the lives of individuals who are blind or have other significant disabilities and on the natural environment upon which we all depend for good health and our very existence.

When Federal contracting and acquisition professionals are faced with conflicting mandatory requirements, and it comes to choosing between the AbilityOne Program and the environment, our goal is to be able to provide a solution for that customer to allow their agency to realize both mandates without sacrificing quality, fair price or convenience.

Environmental Laws and Executive Orders that impact Federal procurement include the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) section 6002, which specifies the use of recycled content in paper office and other supplies, and Executive Order 13423 “Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management,” (this document replaced E.O. 13101 in January 2007). These edicts are designed to support environmentally responsible business decisions and practices throughout the Federal government. Rather than being an obstacle to effective environmental procurement, AbilityOne is a partner with a solution. Today, AbilityOne-associated nonprofit organization employees manufacture a range of environmentally responsible paper products, cleaning chemicals and recycled plastic items. In addition, AbilityOne employees are leaders in the fields of Green Cleaning, Green Grounds Maintenance and Green Laundry services. In supporting environmental initiatives, AbilityOne-participating nonprofit agencies are participants in the new Green Economy and play a key role in helping the government create cleaner, healthier, safer workplaces for Federal employees, contractors and visitors to Federal agencies. Being environmentally responsible is good and it makes good sense, good business and good government.

For more information about AbilityOne's Environmental initiative, please contact Joan Smith at jsmith@abilityone.gov

Environmental Education and Awareness

The AbilityOne Program has made environmental education and awareness about the requirements of Executive Order 13423 “Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management,” part of its educational mission. Through training, exhibits, and intelligent, effective labeling, AbilityOne relates the core issues of EO 13423 to its federal customers.


In addition to including the requirements of E.O. 13423 in training materials presented to Federal Purchase Card holders, AbilityOne, through SourceAmerica® (formerly NISH) developed comprehensive, environmentally responsible training courses for the laundry and custodial business lines. These courses, which are free and open to Federal customers, custodial and laundry vendors and associated nonprofit agencies that perform on Federal custodial and laundry contracts, aim to educate participants as to environmental principles, methods, practices, and application of providing cleaning and laundry service with the environment in mind.

Adherence to Federal Trade Commission Guidelines

The AbilityOne Program continues to work with associated nonprofit agencies to identify and label the environmental attributes of its products according to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guidelines for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, and to include such information in print and electronic catalogs, on promotional brochures and other marketing material, as well as on product packaging containers.

"Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management”

Executive Order 13423, “Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management,” was signed on January 24, 2007. The decree, which consolidates and strengthens the sustainable practices of several Environmental Executive Orders, including E.O. 13101, “Greening the Government through Waste Prevention, Recycling and Federal Acquisition” was codified into law by the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, signed on February 17, 2009.

Essentially, Executive Order 13423 requires Federal agencies to lead by example in advancing the nation’s energy security and environmental performance by achieving the following goals:

  • Energy Efficiency: Reduce energy intensity 30 percent by 2015, compared to an FY 2003 baseline.
  • Greenhouse Gases: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions through reduction of energy intensity 30 percent by 2015, compared to an FY 2003 baseline.
  • Renewable Power: At least 50 percent of current renewable energy purchases must come from new renewable sources (in service after January 1, 1999).
  • Building Performance: Construct or renovate buildings in accordance with sustainability strategies, including resource conservation, reduction, and use; siting; and indoor environmental quality.
  • Water Conservation: Reduce water consumption intensity 16 percent by 2015, compared to an FY 2007 baseline.
  • Vehicles: Increase purchase of alternative fuel, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid vehicles when commercially available.
  • Petroleum Conservation: Reduce petroleum consumption in fleet vehicles by 2 percent annually through 2015, compared to an FY 2005 baseline.
  • Alternative Fuel: Increase use of alternative fuel consumption by at least 10 percent annually, compared to an FY 2005 baseline.
  • Pollution Prevention: Reduce use of chemicals and toxic materials and purchase lower risk chemicals and toxic materials.
  • Procurement: Expand purchases of environmentally sound goods and services, including biobased products.
  • Electronics Management: Annually, 95 percent of electronic products purchased must meet Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool standards where applicable; enable Energy Star® features on 100 percent of computers and monitors; and reuse, donate, sell, or recycle 100 percent of electronic products using environmentally sound management practices.
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