At a recent meeting at EPA headquarters, officials of the Agency's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics and TRSA Staff continued their positive relationship by collaborating on plans to promote and document the steady elimination of nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE) from wash chemistry.

The meeting followed EPA's May 9 release of its analysis of NPE alternatives, which cited TRSA's "industrial/institutional (I/I) laundry" constituency phasing out NPEs. EPA views the analysis as helpful to manufacturers of cleaners, detergents, textiles, pulp and paper, and pest control agents for agriculture. But I/I launderers were the only industry credited in the document for using these substitutes. EPA cited laundry wash chemistry formulators' response to market demand for NPE alternatives and laundry operators' pledge to eliminate NPE, "well along the way to reaching phase-out goals."

The cooperative effort began in 2010 when TRSA told EPA in a letter that the Association would lead an industry-wide phase-out of NPEs from all liquid detergent formulations by December 31, 2013 and all powders one year later.

"This meeting with EPA officials represents continued cooperation between TRSA and regulators. I am pleased with the quality and expansion of our relationship," said TRSA President and CEO Joseph Ricci. "Since the inception of TRSA more than 100 years ago, our members have led the industry in green laundry techniques because they understand the social and economic benefits of improving their operations to increase sustainability." Performance analysis and research indicate that TRSA members are more productive, more efficient and greener than non-member laundries, as they increasingly seek to conserve water and energy and minimize chemical discharges.

TRSA's leadership has encouraged EPA to avoid requiring laundries to conduct burdensome and expensive tests on indoor air emissions from detergent supplies, providing TRSA members with a quantifiable return on their investment in the Association, Ricci noted. "Our industry's formal commitment to cooperation with EPA began with the launch of Laundry Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) in 1997 and continues today as TRSA has achieved Champion status in the EPA Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative, which recognizes businesses that voluntarily commit to such chemistry."

In February, TRSA launched its Clean Green certification that recognizes laundries for conservation of water and energy, use of NPE-free detergents and other best management practices including reusing, reclaiming and recycling resources.