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United States Environmental Protection Agency
Design for the Environment (DfE)
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About DfE

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DfE's Mission / Vision | What is DfE? | Program History | Partners | Internships | Related Programs

The Design for the Environment (DfE) Program is a voluntary partnership program that works directly with industry to integrate health and environmental considerations into business decisions.

Businesses today face a variety of challenges, including maintaining high-quality goods and services at a low cost; staying competitive in a global marketplace; and meeting consumer preferences for more environmentally friendly products. To help businesses meet these challenges, DfE partnerships inform businesses in the design or redesign of products and processes that are cleaner, more cost-effective, and safer for workers and the public.

The DfE process promotes voluntary environmental improvement by addressing industries' need for key information on how to incorporate environmental concerns into business decisions. The process systematically:

  • Identifies the array of technologies, products, and processes that can be used to perform a particular function within an industry and related pollution prevention opportunities.
  • Evaluates and compares the risk, performance, and cost tradeoffs of the alternatives.
  • Disseminates this information to the entire industry community.
  • Encourages and enables use of this information by providing mechanisms and incentives to institutionalize continuous environmental improvement.

Why Design for the Environment?

DfE provides decision-makers with information, tools, and incentives to make informed decisions that integrate risk, performance, and cost concerns. A DfE project potentially provides many benefits, including:

  • Reduced health, safety, and ecological risks.
  • Increased efficiency and customer acceptance.
  • Improved worker morale and productivity.
  • Reduced regulatory burden.
  • Improved channels of communication, cooperation, and collaboration among stakeholder organizations.
  • Expanded business and market opportunities.

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The DfE Approach:
Examines the hazards of chemicals used in an industry.

Assesses alternative processes, formulations, and emerging technologies.

Promotes risk reduction through cleaner technologies and safer chemical choices.


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