Eco-friendly plan with group discussion.


How to Build an Eco-Friendly Safety Program

Turn your sustainability initiatives into action by building a more environmentally conscious safety program.

If your business is working toward meeting sustainability goals and reducing its carbon footprint, don’t overlook your safety program. Many of the common PPE and safety products that you’re currently using, including gloves, lockout/tagout kits, and cleaning supplies, have an earth-friendly alternative or can be recycled. By seeking out these products, your company can achieve several goals:

  • Reduce landfill waste and environmental impact
  • Reduce off-gassing and toxic emissions in your workplace
  • Lower energy usage and costs
  • Meet shareholder and customer expectations

Getting Started: Take Stock of your PPE and Safety Gear

Conducting an in-depth inventory of your safety products will help you determine what improvements can be made. Are your products environmentally friendly? Do alternatives exist that are gentler on the environment, healthier for workers, or made with recycled or sustainable materials?

You can then create plan to replace your safety and PPE products with more eco-friendly options once they’ve outlived their useful life. When selecting environmentally friendly safety products, look for these specifications:

  • Recyclable
  • Made with recycled or sustainable materials
  • Manufactured with a low-impact, low-emission process
  • Energy-conserving
  • Diverting landfill waste
  • Low emissions certified
  • PVC-free

Engineers discussing safety methods in factory warehouse.

Trustworthy Eco-Certification

As consumers become increasingly eco-conscious, some manufacturers are greenwashing products to increase sales. “Greenwashing” is when a manufacturer or reseller uses deceptive marketing tactics to persuade the consumer that their products are earth-friendly or sustainable. To avoid the greenwashing trap, look for safety products that have been tested and validated by a trusted source and have an eco-certification seal on their label. There are dozens of eco-certification labels in the marketplace. Here are a few trustworthy ones:

  1. UL Validated Certification: These products contain recycled content, are easily recyclable, and divert landfill waste, among other benefits.
  2. UL GREENGUARD® Certification for Low Chemical Emissions: This certification is given to products that shed low chemical emissions.
  3. UL ECOLOGO® Certifications: These voluntary, multi-attribute certifications indicate a product has undergone rigorous testing to prove compliance with stringent environmental standards.
  4. EPA Safer Choice Certification: Designated for cleaning products and specialized industrial lubricants and substances that contain safer, more eco-friendly ingredients
  5. NSF Sustainability Certification: This certification is reserved for products that meet NSF/ANSI or other national or international sustainable product standards
  6. SCS Recycled Content Certification: These products made in whole or in part from recycled waste material

What Can You Recycle?

Safety gear such as hard hats, earplugs, beard nets, hair nets, lockout/tagout kits, signs, disposable gloves, protective gloves, and safety glasses are often recyclable. To determine if the product is recyclable, check for a recyclable symbol with any of the following numbers:

Symbol Recyclable
Number 1 (PETE) Yes
Number 2 (HDPE) Yes
Number 3 (PVC) No
Number 4 (LDPE) Sometimes
Number 5 (PP) Sometimes
Number 6 (PS) Sometimes

Develop Eco-Friendly Workplace Habits

By encouraging smarter usage and disposal habits of PPE and safety gear, you can reduce expenses while achieving environmental goals. Take time to train employees on which PPE is safe to use more than once. Discourage PPE use-and-toss practices, which create excess waste and costs. When possible, assign and label items that are used for longer periods of time, like hard hats and safety glasses.


Building an eco-friendly safety program is an easy way to turn your sustainability initiatives into action. Replacing products with eco-certified or recyclable options as they reach the end of their useful life will help you reduce waste and toxic emissions while reducing the overall environmental impact of your business. Conducting ongoing employee training and smarter usage/disposal initiatives will help integrate these initiatives more permanently into your safety culture.

Shawn Gregg


Shawn Gregg, Vice President of Global Safety
Shawn Gregg joined Wesco in 2023, bringing over 30 years of industrial safety market knowledge and technical expertise. Gregg started his career as a safety engineer and has remained dedicated to producing and delivering safety solutions that keep workers safe.


Wesco’s safety services, consulting and training.  

In addition to Wesco’s vast selection of trusted safety products, we take pride in our broad portfolio of safety services, consulting and training. You can rely on our team of safety experts to create comprehensive, customizable safety solutions to help you improve productivity, increase profitability and mitigate risk.


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