View of an automotive mechanic installing brake pads on a car.

GreenNY Specification: Brake Pads

Covered Products 

Brake pads that are purchased for installation on state-owned or leased light-duty vehicles. 



To reduce the amount of copper that accumulates in our waterways and negatively impacts aquatic resources. When a driver uses a vehicle’s brakes, material from the brake pad turns to dust and lands on the ground. This dust is comprised of the materials in the brake pads, which can include copper. When it rains this material then flows into water bodies. By having affected entities purchase and use brake pads that are lower in copper it will lessen the amount of copper that enters our water bodies. 


Standard Setting and Certification Programs

LeafMark Rating System - In 2015 the Environmental Protection Agency, Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, Brake Manufacturers Council, Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association, Auto Care Association, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of Global Automakers, Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, and the Environmental Council of the States entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that created the LeafMark rating system that denotes the amount of copper and other heavy metals in brake pads. There are three tiers to the system, A, B, and N, that are based upon the amount of copper and other substances in the brake pads. A is the minimum rating a brake pad must achieve and N brake pads have the lowest concentration of copper in them. In addition, over time manufacturers must meet the more stringent ratings, with brake pads sold by 2021 being B rated and those sold by 2025 being N rated. 



Affected entities shall to the maximum extent practicable: 

  • Purchase and use brake pads that achieve at least a B rating on the LeafMark rating system. 

Affected entities are encouraged: 

  • To purchase brake pads that meet the highest rating of the LeafMark system available. 



Packaging shall comply with Environmental Conservation Law section 37-0205. Packaging shall not contain inks, dyes, pigments, adhesives, stabilizers, or any other additives to which any lead, cadmium, mercury, or hexavalent chromium is intentionally added or contain incidental concentrations of lead, cadmium, mercury or hexavalent chromium which together are greater than 100 parts per million by weight (0.01%). 

New York State encourages affected entities to adopt the following in order of preference when purchasing items that come in packaging: 

  • Items that do not need packaging, or the packaging is part of the product. 
  • Items that come in reusable packaging. 
  • Items that come in bulk packaging. 
  • Items that come in innovative packaging that reduces the amount of packaging. 
  • Items that come in packaging that remains the property of the supplier and does not become the property of the end user under any circumstance or condition. The vendor shall certify that the packaging material will be reused, recycled, or composted, and managed in compliance with applicable local, state, and federal laws. 
  • Items that come in packaging that maximizes recycled or biodegradable (compostable) content and/or meets or exceeds the minimum post-consumer content level for packaging in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines. Biodegradable products should only be used in areas where a composting facility exists that accept the material. 
  • Items that come in Packaging that is recyclable or biodegradable (compostable). Biodegradable products should only be used in areas where a composting facility exists and will accept the material.