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Dave Tantillo, category merchant for cleaning products at Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets Inc., and Jason Wadsworth, the retailer's sustainability manager, were on hand this week to accept the Partner of the Year Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was presented at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
The honor recognizes stakeholders that have furthered the chemistry and product goals of the agency's Safer Choice Program. Last year, Wegmans debuted a store-brand cleaning product line featuring safer ingredients. To be eligible for the Safer Choice (formerly "Design for the Environment") label, a product must fulfill EPA's Safer Choice Standard, which includes stringent human and environmental health requirements.
"I've been managing the cleaning product categories for several years," said Tantillo. "If someone asked me, when I first started, if we could successfully launch a line of products that was safer for people and the environment, effective and priced attractively, I would have told you it would be impossible. But Safer Choice standards gave us direction. Combining that with our committed supplier, we had a formula for success. And our customers are the real winners."
Family-owned Wegmans operates 86 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.