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EPA DfE Becomes Safer Choice. Now What!?
Posted on:Thursday, March 19, 2015

So we just finished finalizing the artwork for our new buyers guide. This morning as I’m sifting through emails this catches my eye “Big Changes to DfE…”


Now I’m thinking new standards, new regulations?  Nope.   What it comes down to is the EPA has renamed the program and designed new logos. Not a new logo.  New LogoS.   DfE (Design for the Environment) is now Safer Choice.


If you’re like most people, you realize that when the government gets involved in something it is never simple and straightforward.  Given the full page blog article and video on their site explaining why this is better (see here:http://www2.epa.gov/saferchoice)  I’m not getting the warm and fuzzies. The document describing the standards for Safer Choice alone is 41 pages.


So the government changed a logo, what’s this big deal?


Think about that for a moment.  If you are a manufacturer or distributor of DfE products it means every product label that carries the DfE logo has to change.  Every flyer, spec sheet, brochure, catalog, website, online ad etc.  All these things take time and cost money. Anyone else thinking unfunded government mandate?


Compound that with this: Where there was one, now there is 3.  Three Safer Choice logos.



  • The standard Safer Choice for household and institutional products.

  • Optional Safer Choice for products used in businesses, office buildings, sports venues, and schools, and a

  • Safer Choice logo for products that are fragrance free.


031815HouseholdLogoCommercialLogo FragranceFree


From a marketing standpoint you have a decision to make.  Before your product just carried the DfE label marking it as safe for the environment.  So with three logos how do you want your product to be perceived by the market?  With the standard Safer Choice logo, which implies to me home and retail?


But what if your product can be used in the commercial market.  In the consumers mind, does the standard safer choice imply a home only product, a not as strong product?  Does the Safer choice for commercial logo imply that it is only for commercial use?


Throw into the mix the fragrance free version of the logo.  Which translates to a low or no VOC product.  For years I worked in the printing industry.  In that industry, low VOC inks were perceived as not as aggressive inks. They did not adhere as well to as many substrates and did not last as long.  This was not necessarily true, since the VOCs were not necessarily that much lower, but were just masked so the smell was not as strong. But the point is there was a perception of the product not working as well.confusion2


You could just ignore this whole thing.  I would liken that to being a manufacturer of plastic bottles and not stamping them with recycling info.  You just burned yourself in the market.


The EPA has not put a deadline on switching to the new labels, but you know as well as I do that if you want to be perceived as “leading edge” or a leader in the industry, you’re going to take the plunge and switch over as soon as possible. Even the EPA acknowledges they expect many companies to be switched over by this spring.


Back to our dilemma. Since our buyers guide is published biannually, not changing the logos now would probably not be in our best interest.  So, Dura Wax customers, there will be a slight delay while we figure out which logos are going to be used by whom.


We Fight Dirty!TM …but even we can’t stop the government mandate machine.



 
 
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