The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is a recipient of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2021 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Award. EPA’s announcement of the 33 award winners on Sept. 22 coincides with Pollution Prevention Week. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in the design, manufacture, promotion and use of environmentally friendly products in homes, schools and businesses. Awardees were selected for active and exemplary participation in and promotion of the product certification and labeling program.
In 2020, DEQ developed two innovative projects to encourage the use of safer products and to help businesses obtain Safer Choice certification. In partnership with the Pollution Prevention Resource Center, DEQ developed and implemented a training program on safer chemical alternatives. To provide direct support to Oregon businesses, DEQ and Oregon Sea Grant administered an internship program for students to address pollution prevention solutions, provide free training on the availability and use of safer chemicals and help businesses attain Safer Choice certification.
“We are honored to be among the awardees who demonstrated a commitment to address climate change and advance environmental justice by leading efforts to increase use and accessibility of less toxic products,” says DEQ Land Quality Division Administrator, Lydia Emer. “Our work is grounded in ensuring businesses and communities, particularly underserved communities, have access to complete and transparent information on toxic ingredients in products. This in turn creates incentives for manufacturers to use safer chemicals.”
Three businesses in Oregon are also being recognized: Defunkify (Eugene), Dirty Labs, Inc. (Portland) and Roger McFadden and Associates, LLC (Canby).
“DEQ is answering the rising demand for products that have a better environmental, health and safety profile,” says Lisa Cox, DEQ’s toxic reduction analyst for business initiatives. “This award is a direct reflection of our toxic reduction and hazardous waste program’s work which includes building partnerships with Oregon businesses, regional non-profits, schools, cities and counties to reduce the use of toxic chemicals.”
-Jennifer K. Flynt, public affairs specialist