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Design for the Environment

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Design for the environment has nothing to do with walking down the catwalk in Milan.  It’s a fairly recent initiative by the US EPA for industry.  Their initiative is to steer different industries into creating products that are less harmful to people and that lessen the impact of pollution.  A novel idea that has finally picked up steam at the US EPA.  The downside is that it requires companies to spend a lot of money proving that the products they have been selling meet their guidelines.  This is probably important for companies that don’t actually make their own products and rely on co-packers.  Guys like us that actually make everything and have based our business on being green get taken to the cleaners.  Unfortunately, there has been a lot of “greenwashing” in this category, so outside scrutiny is not a bad thing.  I mean if you can’t trust the US EPA, who can you trust.  The one down side is that the US EPA really is not pushing industry as hard as it could.  What they are seeking is a slow evolutionary process over time to get companies into compliance.  The compliance right now is voluntary, but it should be mandatory.  The initial testing takes months, and the usual government bureaucracy takes just as long.  It took us almost 6 months to get eight products approved.  We have another eleven products in the pipeline for approval.  I guess we do it so that there is a third party certification added to our products, but this process has a long way to go before it really has any teeth to it.  US EPA is moving quite slowly on cleaners that contain formaldehyde, 1, 4-dioxane, chlorine, phosphates and ammonia.  These are ingredients that you need to be more concerned about. Design for the Environment even comes with its own logo.  This logo will soon be found on the products we’ve obtained approval on.  For more information on this program just google US EPA Design for the Environment.

John Vlahakis

DFE US EPA logo.
DFE US EPA logo.

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