Comments invited for proposed hand sanitizers standard
The EcoLogo Program, a third-party eco-labeling organization based in Ottawa, Ontario, has started developing a new environmental standard for hand sanitizers, and it wants government leaders’ input on its draft standard. The proposed standard will allow purchasers to select hand sanitizing products with reduced environmental and health effects.
“The EcoLogo team is seeking stakeholders who wish to comment on the discussion document supporting the new EcoLogo standard for Hand Sanitizers to ensure that it represents environmental leadership,” said Scot Case, executive director of the EcoLogo Program, and vice president of TerraChoice Environmental Marketing. TerraChoice manages the EcoLogo Program.
“Lots of state and local governments are now requiring the use of hand sanitizers to protect human health,” Case told GovPro.com. “The EcoLogo Program is trying to determine whether there might be an environmentally preferable approach to accomplish the same goal.
“EcoLogo environmental leadership standards are designed to identify environmental leadership within a product category. The standards typically define environmental leadership so that only the top 20 percent of products in a category are capable of meeting the standard.”
Hand sanitizers are a new product category for EcoLogo. As the second step in the standards development process, the EcoLogo Program is calling for stakeholder comment on the initial document to ensure fair, transparent and broad participation. Among other factors, the current EcoLogo hand sanitizer category is considering biodegradability, bio-based content, packaging requirements and environmental health issues.
The standard-setting process will be thorough, added Case: “The EcoLogo discussion document for hand sanitizers is the first step in a rigorous environmental standard-setting process. The document shares our preliminary understanding of the product category and solicits additional feedback from stakeholders to further refine our understanding.
“The next steps will include responding to the public comments EcoLogo receives on the discussion document, developing and distributing a draft standard, soliciting additional stakeholder input, responding to the input and issuing a revised draft, reviewing the final stakeholder comments, and issuing the final standard.”
Governments, including counties, municipalities, federal agencies and state governments are on EcoLogo’s list of prospective stakeholders for the proposed standard. “Governments, absolutely, are potential stakeholders, especially with health concerns now,” said Kate Rusnak, a communications and media consultant for Ecologo and TerraChoice. “There are a lot of hand sanitizers being used in government installations. So governments certainly would be very keenly aware of the health issues in hand sanitation, and also, they are making sure that hand sanitation stations are made available. I think governments would certainly be interested in being able to incorporate and use the greenest options possible in hand sanitizing.”
Before a product or service can be EcoLogo-certified, an independent third-party auditor, approved by the EcoLogo Program, must verify that the product or service meets the relevant EcoLogo standard. All EcoLogo standards are available at www.ecologo.org.
The stakeholder consultation period for hand sanitizers started May 20, 2009, and will be open for 30 days. Comments must be received by Thursday, June 18, 2009.
To participate in the development of the standard, send an email to Robin Duchesneau at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (613) 247-1900 ext. 239 for more information.