More than a symbol on packaging or certification program, the Designed for Discard (D4D) program is a science and data-based approach connecting brand owners, consumers, waste handlers and the industry.

What is D4D?

D4D Suppliers are an integral part of the D4D Compliant supply chain and D4D Communities. They are the raw material providers, material converters, distributors and other manufacturers of unfinished products – products that one day may be designated as D4D Compliant. D4D Suppliers are not “business as usual” companies, they have a commitment to provide the optimal material solutions for their customers to use for packaging and disposable items.

Materials offered by D4D Suppliers have gone through initial evaluation by EREF to provide a “jump start” for their customers in obtaining D4D Compliant validation on finished products.

D4D Suppliers often choose to become D4D Partners to maximize their influence and efforts in reducing waste and sustainable management of materials. D4D Suppliers are dedicated to accelerating the adoption of D4D products in the market, they are a part of the success of D4D Communities and ultimately the ‘go to source’ for brands seeking to produce D4D Compliant products.

D4D Suppliers receive a variety of benefits, just a few are outlined below:

Increase EPR. D4D Suppliers provide brands with the materials that demonstrate extended producer responsibility for packaging and single use items.

Support customer environmental goals. Only 2% of companies achieve sustainability goals. D4D Suppliers assist their customers with materials that support proper recycling and recovery to achieve corporate goals.

Reduce waste hauling costs. Correctly placing waste saves money and can allow for reduced waste hauling expenses.

Attract new market share. Most primary brands have publicly stated environmental goals regarding their products, including product end-of life. These brands are looking for new solutions and manufacturers that can fulfill these goals.

Corporate social responsibility. Position your company as one of the premier organizations focused on sustainable plastic waste management in the US. by validating that your company supports products designed for maximum value and proper disposal after use.

How do I become a D4D Supplier?

Companies looking to become D4D Suppliers go through much the same application process as brands with D4D Compliant products.

The first step is completing an application and submitting it to EREF along with any applicable tests and product or material samples. This provides EREF the initial information needed to conduct an evaluation of your product or material.

During the evaluation, EREF will use existing research and data, information from the application/test reports and observations of the sample product to analyze both the environmental and economic impact of your product at discard, to the extent possible. (The process is more limited than the evaluation with D4D Compliant products, because the product is not in its final form.)

The overall consideration of D4D Ssuppliers include the materials submitted for evaluation, along with sustainability commitments made by the company.

D4D Suppliers commit to:

  • supporting research and education in sustainable materials & waste management
  • consistent material and product quality that adheres to the standards of D4D evaluation
  • implementing D4D programs within their facilities, when possible
  • utilizing D4D Compliant products in their processes and facilities, when feasible
  • sponsoring a local D4D Community, if the company size and economics permit

Companies awarded the designation of D4D Supplier utilize the D4D Supplier logo on marketing and promotional media as a clear statement of their dedication to the environment. This builds on their organizational goals of Zero Waste, reduced environmental impacts, increased visibility and a solid reputation within their respective industry. D4D Suppliers also provide a streamlined method for brand owners to apply for D4D Compliant products.

What is the D4D difference?

Designed for Discard is a third-party end-of-life validation seal developed by the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF), a 501(c)3 non-advocacy charity. EREF’s mission is to advance research and education for sustainable waste management practices.

D4D is based on scientific, peer-reviewed research and technical evaluation to create data-driven sustainable discard management for products that incorporates material characteristics, current waste management infrastructure, operational processes and social behavior. As a result, EREF considers environmental benefits of not just one, but all of today’s end-of-life options (e.g. composting, recycling, conversion to energy) while advancing the circular economy of tomorrow.

This is the first program that brings together all parts of the value chain (manufacturing, retail, consumer and waste management) to represent your environmental commitment and the results that your dedication has achieved.

Designed for Discard provides manufacturers with the tools and expertise needed to offer products that are more environmentally responsible and to communicate this effectively to brand owners.

D4D allows your customers to recognize your product’s enhanced sustainability while avoiding the green-washing that is all too common when specific industries create programs meant to promote their special interest (i.e. such as “recyclable” or “compostable” without any validation of the expected discard location or ability to be processed in the respective environment).

D4D Suppliers rise above the current trend and are instrumental in creating products validated to remain a value to our community beyond the end of their normal use.

With all the validation seals out there, what makes D4D different?

D4D is the ONLY sustainability validation seal that considers all possible discard options (recyclability, compostability and conversion to energy) coupled with environmental impact, consumer behavior and available waste management infrastructure to create the most robust, scientifically valid and practical program available. Other programs available with specific objectives, such as recycling, composting, landfill diversion or using bio-based materials, tend to evaluate a specific feature of a product, but they do not comprehensively evaluate the end-of-life impact from a holistic and results oriented perspective. EREF prefers no specific end-point, focusing solely on ensuring the product reaches an end-point with the least environmental burden and maximum economic value.

What materials are included in the D4D program?

Initially, the focus of D4D will be on single use and disposable plastics, paper and metal. While not all products will meet the evaluation criteria, most manufactured product types will be considered for initial evaluation.  Exceptions would include products that are not typically discarded in a sustainable manner, such as plastic shot shell casings for firearms, which are typically ejected onto the ground and not recovered.

How long does the evaluation take?

The evaluation will typically take 3-6 weeks if all the required testing is complete and submitted with the application. Some products may have unique characteristics or distribution models that require additional time for evaluation.

How long does my D4D Supplier designation last?

Your products included in the D4D validation are renewed every 3 years. Your achievement of D4D Supplier status is dependent on the information included in your application. Any changes to your product or its distribution region may necessitate a review of your validation to make sure the product remains eligible.

How much does the validation cost?

The total costs include both the application processing fee and an annual licensing fee. The amount of the fees is related to the annual sales of the product being validated, how many of your products are validated and other such factors; in general smaller companies pay less than larger ones. Please contact us directly to discuss costs relative to your specific scenario.

Can I be a D4D Supplier and also be a D4D Partner?

YES! D4D is a program intended to include and recognize involvement from all sectors of the supply chain. It would be very common for a company who is a D4D Supplier to also be a D4D Partner.

Are monies I pay tax deductible?

This would be a good question for your accountant. EREF is a 501(C-3) charity and monies paid go to supporting the D4D program, educational outreach, community support and furthering research of sustainable waste practices.

If I have one D4D material validated, does that make all my products validated?

D4D validation is very rigorous and is specific to the product you submitted. The validation only applies to the product on your application. Should you have additional products, they should be submitted on a separate application. In the event that the new product is very similar to a validated product, EREF may consider adding that product to an existing application.

Can brands using my validated materials use the D4D logo?

No. The D4D Compliant logo is reserved for finished products that have been evaluated and approved by EREF in their final commercial form. However, your position as a D4D Supplier provides customers with a quicker evaluation process to become validated as D4D Compliant.