By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On March 27, 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that its Safer Choice program is accepting submissions for its 2023 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards. 88 Fed. Reg. 18135. The Safer Choice program certifies products containing ingredients that have met the program’s specific and rigorous human health and environmental toxicological criteria. According to EPA, the Safer Choice program allows companies to use its label on certified products that contain safer ingredients and perform, as determined by expert evaluation. EPA states that it developed the Partner of the Year Awards to recognize the leadership contributions of Safer Choice partners and stakeholders who have shown achievement in the design, manufacture, selection, and use of products with safer chemicals that further outstanding or innovative source reduction.
Similar achievement in the design, manufacture, selection, and use of Design for the Environment (DfE)-certified products will also make an organization eligible for the Partner of the Year Awards. The DfE program is a companion program to Safer Choice and certifies antimicrobial products. EPA states that the DfE logo may be used on certified products and helps consumers and commercial buyers identify products that meet the health and safety standards of the pesticide registration process required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), as well as the Safer Choice program’s stringent criteria for efficacy and effects on human health and the environment.
All Safer Choice stakeholders and program participants in good standing are eligible for recognition. Interested parties who would like to be considered for the award should submit to EPA an application detailing their accomplishments and contributions during calendar year 2022. EPA “especially encourages submission of award applications that show how the applicant’s work in the design, manufacture, selection, and use of those products promotes environmental justice, bolsters resilience to the impacts of climate change, results in cleaner air or water, improves drinking water quality, or advances innovation in packaging.” Submissions are due May 31, 2023. EPA will recognize award winners at a Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards ceremony in fall 2023. More information on the 2023 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards, including the application form, submission process, and past winners, is available on EPA’s website.