Safer products reduce risk, satisfy customer demands, and enable your company to be proactive participants in the circular economy
Effective product stewardship requires being proactive to your channel customers’ and end-users’ needs, while engaging with your supply chain to reduce impacts to human health and the environment. Chemicals transparency is an emerging trend being pushed by NGOs, state legislation and many large retailers (see below).
We understand that it's time consuming and expensive to redesign your products for a retailer’s new chemical policy, a LEED certification, or to comply with new legislation. Consumer groups will continue to lobby at the state and federal level to ban chemicals shown to be hazardous to human health and/or the environment. Whether you're motivated by emerging business requirements or the desire to design better products, there is an opportunity to be innovative, understand your substances, and future-proof your products.
Definition of Product Stewardship, from a former webpage of the US EPA
With multiple product lines and tiers of suppliers, we realize that details can get lost or miscommunicated. We started Toxnot to help manufacturers understand what is in their products because, after dozens of conversations, we realized they didn’t know. To reduce your regulatory risks, to win the approval of ever-more discerning customers and to be a proactive participant in the circular economy, it’s imperative to know more about which substances you’re using.
The circular economy is the idea that materials can be endlessly reused, starting with the raw materials you use in your products. At the end-of-life of your products, ideally, they can be recycled, repurposed or reused in some fashion to create something new, instead of clogging up our landfills (the end of a linear economy). The image below visualizes the differences between a linear, reuse and circular economy.
From a Linear to a Circular Economy, Government of the Netherlands; https://www.government.nl/topics/circular-economy/from-a-linear-to-a-circular-economy
To create a circular economy, we must understand more about the initial substances being used. For example, by trying to recycle dark, often black-colored plastics used in electronics products, we have been unknowingly incorporating hazardous chemicals into black-colored recycled food containers and utensils. While this issue also deals with the limitations of recycling facilities’ abilities to discern types of plastics, it speaks volumes about how much we don’t know about what’s in our products.
Talk to your team- designers, procurement, manufacturers- and determine what substances comprise your products, and which priority chemical lists they are found on. You may be surprised to learn that your products contain chemicals of concern. Product transparency within your internal team is key to complying with regulations and managing risks. The time for external communication about product transparency with your customers is now.
Major retailer's recent announcements of their own chemical policies
Toxnot helps you with the entire process. Begin by importing the bills of materials (BOMs) of the products you make, and send customizable supplier surveys to your suppliers to fill in the blanks. Our secure system allows suppliers to provide toxics information on proprietary chemicals while maintaining trade secrets. Then, review your product or product lines against 40+ lists (including US EPA, US NIH, CA Prop 65, REACH), or create your own lists based on customers’ priorities. You can use GreenScreen List Translator™ scores to see how your substances compare. You’ll see a flag to point out chemicals of concern; use our database to search for safer alternatives. Then, our analytic tools will help you understand areas for improvement and benchmark against earlier product prototypes.
Regulations and requirements will continue to change. Once your full formulation data is collected in Toxnot, it's easy to re-screen your products as these changes occur. Knowing the chemical contents of your products also reduces your costs in reporting under new and additional product transparency standards or working with third party auditors. This more future-proof approach will save you time and increase your agility in responding to customer requests.
We’re here every step of the way to help you understand the chemicals you use in your products, what safer alternatives exist and analyze your products to communicate your results. Staying proactive with product stewardship is essential to future-proofing your products.