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Time for a Change: The DfE Safer Product Label

By David DiFiore

Change isn’t easy. Whether it’s starting a new job, moving to a new city, or even something simple like trying a new laundry detergent, change often involves parting with the familiar and embracing the unknown. But sometimes change is necessary—to get to a better place. As a founding member of the Design for the Environment Safer Product Labeling Program, there are many aspects of the program I’d never want to change, like our ability to understand and advance safer chemistry—the use of chemical ingredients in products that help protect people, other living things, and the environment. However, one prominent feature of the program—the label shown on products that meet our program’s stringent standards—is getting a much needed makeover.

As the DfE program has grown stronger and more valuable, our label, with its seventies-era graphic, increasingly appeared behind-the-times. Inarguably familiar and comfortable to some (like me), the program—with strong encouragement from our partners, especially in the consumer product sector — realized that the time for a change had come. Even our name, “Design for the Environment,” only tells half the mission, leaving human health protection unrepresented. And a globe with longitude and latitude lines is not only dated, but is hard to reproduce and even harder to reduce in size to legibly fit product labels.

So, about a year-and-a-half-ago we launched our logo redesign. We wanted to take our time to ensure that all our partners and stakeholders—as well as the general public—had an opportunity to weigh in on the draft designs. Redesigns are infrequent and listening to commenters is key to getting it right; for us, that means a logo that not only better communicates our mission, is modern and easy to manipulate, but also eye-catching and memorable.

After all, we have high hopes for the new logo and its ability to propel our efforts with retailers and growth in the consumer product sector. A logo that connects with consumers will make it easy to spot safer products, again and again.

Are you interested in helping us redesign our DfE Safer Product Label? Do you look for safer products in stores? Whether you’re familiar with our program or not, we hope you will join us for a Twitter Chat on the DfE Safer Product Label, on October 22 at 2:00pm EDT by following @EPAlive and using the #saferproducts hashtag. Ask us a question, share your ideas, and join the conversation on safer products.

Learn more about Design for the Environment
Learn more about the DfE Label Redesign
Connect with us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/epadfe

About the Author: David DiFiore joined the Design for the Environment program in 1997. Before that, David worked in several other EPA programs, including the New Chemicals Program, where he learned the science and art of identifying and promoting safer chemicals and products.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Ayúdenos a elaborar una nueva marca para productos más seguros

Por Jim Jones

El Swoosh. Los Arcos Dorados. Es posible que usted pueda reconocer estos productos sin tener que ver el nombre de la compañía que los fabrica ya que los logotipos simplifican el proceso de identificación de la marcas. ¿Pero, qué se necesita para la creación de un buen logotipo? ¿Qué sería conveniente para que un logo adquiera significado y pueda ser identificado con facilidad?

Ayúdenos a contestar estas preguntas al participar del proceso de rediseño de la etiqueta de aprobación de la EPA. Dicha etiqueta se utiliza para identificar los productos que además de ser de buena calidad también cuentan con los requisitos para ser considerados como seguros para su familia y el medio ambiente. Usted podrá encontrar la etiqueta tanto en artículos de limpieza del hogar, autos e interiores al igual que en productos para el cuidado de su mascota. Eche un vistazo a los diseños de las etiquetas propuestas a continuación y déjenos saber lo que piensa al respecto. Tendrá la oportunidad de dejarnos saber su opinion sobre las propuestas de rediseño hasta el 31 de octubre.

091214 redesign_blog (2) DfE

 

Cuando observe las opciones, considere detalles como: ¿Cuál de los diseños capta su atención? ¿Qué elementos o detalles transmiten mejor el concepto de productos más seguros para la salud de su familia? ¿Qué le parecen las palabras, gráficas, colores y figuras utilizadas? Valoramos realmente sus aportaciones y comentarios.

En la actualidad, más de 2,500 productos han adoptado la iniciativa de llevar la existente Etiqueta de Productos Más Seguros de EPA. Muchos de estos productos ya se pueden encontrar en los anaqueles de sus tiendas favoritas y los principales detallistas. De hecho, una de las principales cadenas minoristas del mundo al igual que otros importantes minoristas y manufactureros ven la etiqueta como una excelente manera de ayudarles a adoptar prácticas más seguras y un mayor uso de sustancias químicas sostenibles en sus productos. Todos los ingredientes en los productos que llevan la etiqueta pasan por un proceso de evaluacion exhaustivo para asegurar que reúnen los estándares de cualificación para la seguridad y rendimiento.

Gracias por su aportación y por ayudarnos a crear una etiqueta más reconocible para productos seguros y eficaces de uso doméstico para consumidores como usted.

 

Favor de notar que el rediseño no cambiará ni afectará en ninguna manera los estándares del programa. Busque la etiqueta vigente en el empaque de productos domésticos durante la transición mientras se efectúe el rediseño de la etiqueta.

 

 

 

Nota del editor: Las opiniones expresadas aquí tienen la intension de explicar las políticas de EPA. Las mismas no cambian los derechos u obligaciones de ningún individuo.

Le invitamos a compartir esta publicación. Sin embargo, solicitamos que no se cambie el titulo o el contenido. En el caso que se realicen cambios, no atribuya el título o contenido editado a EPA o el autor de este artículo.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Consumer Product Companies Leading the Way to Greener Products

Getting a tour of Earth Friendly Products in Southern California.

Getting a tour of Earth Friendly Products in Southern California.

 

During some recent travel, I spent time with several consumer product companies and retailers who are stepping up as  safer product leaders and innovators, advancing industry beyond the safety “floor” set by the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

In Southern California, I met with Earth Friendly Products. All their products are manufactured in the U.S. and 90% have earned the Design for the Environment (DfE) label.

I also took part in the Safer Consumer Product Summit in California followed by a visit to the Consumer Specialty Product Association (CSPA) meeting in Chicago.Then, outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I met with BerkleyGreen (Berkley Packaging Company Inc.), a family- and woman-owned DfE partner with 29 DfE-labeled products.

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Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Walmart to Help its Customers Save Money, Live Better— with Safer Chemicals

Design for the Environment image

Walmart will now help its customers save money and “live better” with safer chemicals through a recently released and ambitious plan to move toward safer, more sustainable chemistry in products. As the largest retailer in the world, the significance of this action can’t be overstated in its potential to rewrite the basic formulas by which consumer products are designed, manufactured, and marketed in the U.S.

By placing safer chemistry at the heart of their expectations and guidance to product suppliers, and by walking the talk by requiring manufacturer’s of its in-store brands to lead the way in safer formulation, Walmart has created a new manufacturing paradigm for consumer products, one that adds safer chemistry and ingredient transparency to the traditional elements of performance and cost.

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Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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Protecting the Chesapeake Bay

By Lina Younes

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to visit several sites in Maryland and Virginia along the Chesapeake Bay. I marveled at the beauty of this important watershed. Did you know that the Chesapeake Bay watershed covers six states and Washington, DC? In fact, it’s the largest estuary on the U.S. mainland.

Even if you don’t live along the coast, did you know that what you do at home, at school, at work or in your community affects the water quality and well-being of this important ecosystem? So, what can you do to protect the bay or your local watershed? Here are some tips:

  •  Use water wisely. Start by turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth or shaving. Also, take shorter showers instead of baths. Make sure that you have a full load of laundry or dishes before using the washer and/or dishwasher. Repair leaking faucets and toilets.
  • If you like gardening, plant native plants. They require less water and nutrients and are more resistant to pests.
  • As part of your next landscaping project, consider planting a rain garden. It’s a great way to reduce water runoff.
  • Keep your car in shape to avoid oil leaks, which contaminate water. If you change your car’s oil yourself, take the used oil to a service station for recycling. Did you know that used oil from one oil change can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water?
  • Use greener cleaning products with the Design for the Environment (DfE) label. They’re safer, they protect our water and they’re better for the environment as a whole.
  • Get involved in your community to increase awareness of water quality. Participate in a stream or park cleanup activity.
  • Pick up after your dog. Don’t let his waste pollute our water.

If you’re still doubtful of the link between your activities and water conservation, I recommend you watch this video so you can be part of the solution.

What did you think? Do you have any suggestions? We would love to hear from you.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Going Green As You’re Going Back to School

by Administrator Lisa P. Jackson

Summertime is coming to an end, and kids are heading back to school. And even though they’ll be spending less time outdoors, we should still be thinking about how to protect the environment and safeguard our children’s health. Fortunately, small actions can turn into big results for protecting the environment, and can even save extra money for the school year.

For example, try to cut down on waste. More than 30 percent of what we throw away comes from cardboard and plastic packaging. Look for pens, pencils, and other supplies that are packaged with recyclable materials. That goes for spiral notebooks and notebook paper, too. For every 42 notebooks made from 100 percent recycled paper, an entire tree is saved.

Buying school supplies every year can get expensive. A good way to save money is to conserve energy use around the house. Energy Star products – from lightbulbs and laptops to televisions and air conditioners – are more energy efficient, which means you’ll pay less in utility bills every month. In 2011, the use of Energy Star products helped Americans save $23 billion on their utility bills, and prevented more than 210 million metric tons of green house gas emissions.

There are also ways to make sure our schools are environmentally friendly. In addition to choosing products made from recyclable materials and using energy efficient appliances, check to make sure the products used to clean your child’s classrooms carry the “Design for the Environment” label. This label means those products are safer for students and better for the environment.

Every child deserves a clean and healthy place to learn – and all parents should be able to trust that their children’s health is not at risk when they send them off to school. The EPA is working hard to reduce health threats in the air we breathe and the water we drink, and we want to make sure schools and parents have what they need to minimize pollution in and around classrooms and give all of our kids healthy places to learn.

Last but not least, these actions help teach children the importance of a clean, healthy environment. Making “green” a part of everyday learning – both inside and outside the classroom – is an easy way to engage our kids in the efforts to safeguard the planet they will inherit, and protect their future.

<em>About the author: Lisa Jackson is the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.</em>

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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