How to Make Your Safety Program More Eco-Friendly

Stay Informed

Environmentally friendly safety products are better for the environment. But they are also good for businesses. Most of the PPE and safety products that you’re currently using, such as gloves, lockout/tagout kits, and cleaning supplies, have an earth-friendly alternative or can be recycled.

By seeking out these products, your company can reap a multitude of benefits.

Cleaner Land, Water and Air

Healthier Work Spaces

Lower Costs, Increased Opportunities

Cleaner-Land-Icon Healthier-Work-Icon Lower-Costs-Icon
  • Reduces landfill waste
  • Conserves natural resources
  • Protects delicate ecosystems
  • Reduces product off-gassing and toxin emissions
  • Reduces employee sick days
  • Improves daily productivity
  • Lowers energy usage and costs
  • Bolsters marketing efforts
  • Creates new business and sales opportunities
  • Achieves environmental goals and certifications

 

Getting Started: Check Your Products

With Earth Day approaching on April 22, it’s a great time to check your safety product inventory. Are your products environmentally friendly? Do alternatives exist that are gentler on the environment, healthier for workers, or made with recycled or sustainable materials?

Here’s what to look for when selecting environmentally friendly safety products. Check to see if the product is:

  • Recyclable
  • Made with recycled or sustainable materials
  • Manufactured with a low-impact, low-emission process
  • Energy-conserving
  • Diverting landfill waste
  • Low-emissions certified
  • PVC-free 

Trustworthy Eco-Certification

Be aware of greenwashing – products and services that are overly advertised or falsely promoted with earth-friendly or sustainable qualities. The best green safety products have been tested and validated by a trusted source, and usually have an eco-certification seal on their label. There are dozens of eco-certification labels in the marketplace.

Here are a few trustworthy ones:

  • UL Validated Certification: These products contain recycled content, are easily recyclable, and divert landfill waste, among other benefits. Additional UL certifications include:
  • EPA Safer Choice Certification: Cleaning products, specialized industrial products, marine lubricants, and other products that are better for the environment
  • ENERGY STAR Certification: For energy-efficient products, homes, and commercial and industrial buildings
  • Greener Product Certification: Products that meet or surpass LEED, LEED for Homes, and NAHB green building standards
  • LEED Green Building Rating: A rating system for sustainable green building and development practices
  • NSF Sustainability Certification: Products that meet NSF/ANSI or other national or international sustainable product standards
  • SCS Recycled Content Certification: Products made in whole or in part from recycled waste material

What Can You Recycle?

Safety gear such as hard hats, earplugs, beard nets, hair nets, lockout/tagout kits, signs, disposable gloves, protective gloves, and safety glasses are often recyclable. Batteries, cardboard, electronics, paper, and certain metals are generally safe as well.

Rule of thumb: check for a recyclable symbol with any of the following numbers. Biodegradable products and those labeled with a “3” are usually not recyclable.

  • Number 1 (PETE): Soda bottles, water bottles, cooking oil bottles, and medicine containers
  • Number 2 (HDPE): Soap and cleaning bottles
  • Number 4 (LDPE): Wrapping films, grocery bags, and food storage bags
  • Number 5 (PP): Storage tubs, orange prescription bottles, and plastic soda caps
  • Number 6 (PS): Plastic cups, disposable cutlery, coffee cups, and Styrofoam insulation

Develop Eco-Friendly Habits

By practicing proper usage habits and making smart choices, you can make a significant impact on your work environment while achieving environmental goals.

Discourage PPE Use-and-Toss: Train employees on which PPE is safe to use more than once.

Use, Store, and Dispose of Chemicals Properly: Educate workers on the proper handling, usage, and disposal of workplace chemicals. Ensure that chemicals are correctly labeled with OSHA’s current HAZCOM standard. You should also work with other departments and companies to exchange surplus chemicals for product needs.

Direct Safety Offers UL Certified Lockout Items

In 2019, OSHA’s fourth top-cited violation was lockout/tagout. Direct Safety’s offering of UL certified, USA made lockout items can help you create a safer work environment while contributing to your overall corporate sustainability efforts and LEED building projects.

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