In 2001, HCPA developed and launched Product Care as a comprehensive product stewardship program for each company and every product category represented by our association. This program was established to both coordinate with and complement the other stewardship programs already in place in related industries (i.e. Responsible Care/Responsible Distribution). We can build increased credibility for each program by linking into a continuous commitment from raw material to finished product.
Please review the principles to understanding the value of the Product Care Program.
- Designing ProductsProduct Care companies are constantly looking for new ways to satisfy consumer and public needs. Product Care principles give high priority to ensuring that products can be manufactured and used safely and do not have adverse impacts on the environment.
Scientists at research and development laboratories are dedicated to developing new products and improving existing ones. In addition to testing for product performance, they consider the effect each potential ingredient in a formulation may have on the employees that make and handle the product, as well as on the people who use it. Product chemistry, toxicology and efficacy data are used to develop the appropriate label information.
Packaging engineers choose the appropriate design and material for packages. They study the materials for compatibility with product ingredients, strength and shipping protection, and ease of recycling and disposal. Product Care companies strive to find the package that provides appropriate protection for both the user and the environment.
Product design is a continuing process. Product Care companies continually collect data to improve product design. They also stay current with emerging data on ingredient and material safety as well as sustainability as it applies to the design of products and packages.
- Utilizing Sustainable Materials and Packaging
Product Care companies understand that each ingredient in a finished product or package can impact human health and the environment. As such, they are concerned about how a products ingredients and packaging components are produced.
A number of consumer and industrial/institutional specialty products ingredient and packaging material suppliers participate in Product Care and promote the objectives of protecting human health and the environment. Companies that make finished products promote stewardship objectives by purchasing the materials and services needed to manufacture and market their products from companies that share their strong commitments to Product Care principles.
Product Care principles call for participants to have internal processes to evaluate suppliers of raw materials, packaging components and services. In addition to the quality of the purchased goods or service, companies look for business partners that follow sound business practices. Suppliers help the manufacturers by sharing expertise and information on the safe and efficient use of their products.
- Operating Safe Manufacturing Facilities
Participating in Product Care means being a good employer and a good neighbor. Product Care companies recognize the value of strong manufacturing safeguards that protect workers, the environment and the communities in which we operate.
The Consumer and Industrial/Institutional specialty products industry produces a wide variety of products that provide health benefits and improve the quality of life for millions of people in the US. Many of these products are mixtures or “formulations” of ingredients designed to make life safer and easier. These products are generally formulated in batches at manufacturing facilities and put into cans, bottles, boxes or other containers for shipment to the people that desire them.
Product Care principles for manufacturing facilities call for companies to not just limit themselves to government regulations, but to identify risks to workers and the environment and to design preventive measures that reduce or eliminate those risks. They also call for companies to communicate with their community neighbors about the manufacturing processes and associated potential risks.
Environmental protection is an important part of any manufacturing operation and Product Care principles call for companies to identify the risks of air and water contamination and develop preventive measures to reduce or eliminate them. Companies also understand the need for sustainable economic growth and consider energy and water conservation in their operations.
Product Care companies understand that emergencies can and do happen, and they must be prepared. Product Care companies work with local service providers to develop emergency response programs that protect workers and neighboring communities.
- Promoting Safe Storage and Distribution
Once a product has been manufactured, it passes through a number of channels before reaching the ultimate user. While manufacturers may not always have control of the product, Product Care principles call for them to establish procedures to protect personnel, property and the environment during storage and distribution.
Product Care companies look to select distribution partners who share the Product Care principles and make sure that they have the appropriate information about storage needs, product ingredients and potential risks. Product Care principles call for participants to develop emergency response plans addressing the risks associated with handling, storing and distributing their products.
Product Care companies recognize that product storage and transportation requires energy and fuel that can impact the environment. Product Care principles guide Product Care companies to consider conservation opportunities in the distribution process.
- Providing Useful Product Information
Information is often the key to using getting the desired results, using a product safely and responding quickly to unexpected incidents. Product Care principles help companies provide the proper information needed for routine use and response to any unexpected incidents.
When used properly, consumer and Industrial/Institutional specialty products perform designated tasks with manageable risks. Product Care companies recognize that product users need appropriate, accurate and complete information and Product Care principles call for these companies to have systems to ensure that information is readily available on the product label. Labels contain appropriate information on directions for use and disposal and proper precautions for use and storage.
Unfortunately, products are not always used, stored, and disposed of properly and access to information is especially important when the unexpected happens. Product Care principles call for companies to have systems that make information readily available during emergencies. Product Care companies routinely work with emergency response organizations like poison control centers to ensure emergency response procedures and information are available. Emergency response poison control staffers are on-call at all times to provide advice.
Product Care companies also recognize that people desire and need information for a number of other reasons and provide it through a variety of ways including toll-free numbers, websites, and consumer relations representatives.
Updating information is a continuing task. Product Care principles call for companies to continually evaluate the need to provide new, updated information. Product Care companies routinely gather marketplace and incident information and to evaluate it and make appropriate product changes.
- Answering Consumer Questions
Consumers appreciate the fact that modern products make life easier and better, but they also want to know about any health and environmental risks. Product Care companies are committed to participating in the public discussion about the benefits and risks of modern society.
Consumers appreciate that today’s products make life easier and better, but they also want to know about any health and environmental risks. Product Care companies are committed to participating in the public discussion about the benefits and risks of household and Industrial/Institutional specialty products.
Product Care companies support public education programs that promote the safe and effective use of products and a better understanding of risks. The Consumer Specialty Products Association which coordinates the Product Care program is expanding a series of public education web sites that provide information on topics such as:
- Anticipating Product Disposal Needs
Product Care considerations extend through the final stage in a product’s life cycle disposal. Product Care companies design products to minimize disposal needs and facilitate reuse and recycling. They also consider the impact product ingredients and packages will have on municipal solid waste and sewage handling systems and strive to make them compatible.
Research has shown that most household and institutional products are consumed for their intended purpose with little waste. Many product formulations can be safely disposed of either down the drain or in normal municipal trash collection. When appropriate, companies include special disposal instructions on product labels.
Product Care companies also give disposal, reuse and recycling considerations high priority in package design. They strive for waste minimization and encourage reuse and recycling of leftover product and packaging where recycling programs exist. Companies support community Integrated Waste Management programs where they exist, recognizing the distinct roles of manufacturers, retailers, government and consumers.