The guidelines were mandated by a presidential executive order on federal acquisition recycling and waste prevention.
The guidelines focus on the attributes of the products to be considered in making purchases rather than on any specific products. Agencies were instructed to evaluate environmental performance characteristics such as pollution prevention and life cycle of products.
The Foodservice & Packaging Institute (FPI) had urged EPA to include public-health and safety considerations into the guidelines. While they were not included in the draft guidelines EPA officials urged FPI to use the public comment period to continue its efforts to call attention to the need for incorporating these considerations in the final version.