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News and tips for retailers, brands, and those who know better data will build a more sustainable future.

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What is gravy!?! An unconventional dive into what makes a product
November 27, 2023
5 min read

What is gravy!?! An unconventional dive into what makes a product

As you dig yourself out of that post-holiday workload this week -  we invite you to take a quick pause and join us on a journey that began during Thanksgiving week. In our SmarterX internal company chat, a seemingly trivial question about gravy ignited a discussion that led us on a somewhat ridiculous but undeniably important exploration.

Who defines if gravy is a liquid or a solid? What is the basis of that definition? When you pick up a gravy product, where did it come from? And how does where it comes from impact its value or characteristics? How does all of that impact how it’s handled across the supply chain? Each tablespoon of gravy - as with any product - comes with a million questions and answers.

These questions aren't just about gravy; they're about the very essence of products and substances we encounter every day. We had some laughs along the way, but we promise - our explorations will get you thinking 🧠: 

It all began with a simple question: ‘What is gravy?’ 

Some of us asked ChatGPT directly. If you’re wondering about it’s traditional, textbook definition, here ya go: 

Gravy, traditionally understood as a sauce made from the thickened and seasoned juices of cooked meat, has a rich history in the culinary world. This definition is consistent across various sources, with the Cambridge English Dictionary describing it as a sauce made with meat juices and flour, served with meat and vegetables. The Collins English Dictionary adds that it can also be a sauce made by thickening and flavoring the juices that exude from meat during cooking. Similarly, defines gravy as the fat and juices that drip from cooking meat, often thickened and seasoned, and used as a sauce for various dishes. Wikipedia expands on this by noting that it's often made from the juices of meats that run naturally during cooking and thickened with substances like cornstarch for added texture.

Does that bore you? Yeah, us too. So we went deeper.

As we dove in as a team, we quickly found that the  diversity of products labeled as "gravy" in our own database at SmarterX added several extra layers of intrigue to the discussion.

Gravy is not just a simple sauce; it's a product with a rich and varied history, different types, and more. It can be found in various forms, from pet care products to warm sauces, and it even blurs the line between food and pharmaceuticals.

Team members from across the organization got creative leveraging Artificial Intelligence to shape and mold our data on gravy. It started with our SmarterX data on ~4000 products tagged as 'gravy' in our systems... and evolved from there.

The Gravy Classifier ---> Visualizing  the “WHAT” of’ what is gravy?’

Within minutes, ChatGPT could determine whether a product in the database was gravy or not, based on simply the product’s name and item type. While we went down several interesting rabbit holes on gravy as a team afterwards - the core message was clear: Something - a substance, a product - is gravy simply because we say "IT'S GRAVY". 

Instant classifications of a product as 'Gravy' - or NOT Gravy (but these are all gravy, baby)

Then word clouds, bar charts, and pie charts were generated to visualize the distribution of gravy products and item types by supplier, the breakdown of gravy products that are liquid vs. solid - and more. Making the data more accessible and engaging.

The most common ingredients in ~4000 products tagged as 'gravy'

The breakdown of products tagged as 'gravy' that are labeled as a solid vs. liquid

A visual of the distribution of 'gravy' products among top suppliers

Gravy at Thanksgiving - A data story.

It was starting to become obvious from the data that gravy was a lot more than Thanksgiving side dish. In fact, we started to see a trend showing that gravy was often NOT something you'd ever serve at thanksgiving. And we asked for some visuals on it... but at first, ChatGPT got it wrong. (Tell us if we're crazy... but would YOU serve dog food at Thanksgiving!?) 

So, we tried again. Using the typical "consumer(s)" of the product as a way to more accurately categorize if a product can and should be served at Thanksgiving.

New product development: 'Universal Gravy'

Now we started thinking.... how can we use this data to envision a BRAND NEW type of gravy product? The concept of "Universal Gravy" was introduced, a gravy product for all of these consumers (including pets?). The final result?: Universal Gravy: Bringing Family and Pets Together.

UPC: 99999999999 Product Name: UNIVERSAL_GRAVY Supplier: Global Flavors Inc. Item Ingredients List: beef stock, chicken stock, onion, garlic, soy sauce, spices Item Type: Gravy Physical Form: Liquid Serve at Thanksgiving: Family Number of Ingredients: 6

Gravy, but make it... healthy? 

Then we wanted to know... which gravy product is the most health for our families this Thanksgiving holiday? If you're worried about that kind of thing. As it turns out: Fancy Feast cat food is your best bet. We'll skip it, but it was still interesting to look at the comparison of two of the leading human gravy products.

The future of gravy

And, finally, we dove into the potential future of gravy. Based on what we know about gravy today - what could the gravy product and how they exist in the future look like? 

Can we make gravy in a more sustainable and less expensive way? And, in the wake of climate change, will how we look at the consistency of gravy change as the world warms? Is this is ridiculous thought, or is there some validity to it? In a consistently warmer climate, could most solid foods become liquid, effectively turning the entire food ecosystem into gravy? This intriguing thought raises questions about how climate change might reshape how we think about and handle goods.

In asking ChatGPT to come with some future concepts for how these gravy products might exist in our future world, we got come fascinating concepts and visuals.

The Gravy Aisle in a Future Store:Shelves lined with packets of solid gravy, shimmering in hues of gold and silver.Solar-powered displays, showcasing recipes and virtual chefs.Holographic labels detailing the source of every ingredient, from sky farms to deep-sea gardens.

This visual illustrates a futuristic facility for the AI production of solid gravy, highlighting the efficiency and sustainability of the process. It includes AI-controlled hydroponic systems, robotic assembly of gravy blocks, and advanced quality control systems.

While we went down several interesting explorations on gravy as a team, one thing was clear: What began as a simple question about gravy evolved into a captivating journey through why we identify products and classify products certain ways. The multitude of information that can be derived from product data if you ask the right questions.

So.... what should we ask next? 
consumer products
Consumer Products Containing Lithium-Ion Batteries
September 12, 2023
5 min read

Consumer Products Containing Lithium-Ion Batteries

This data is pulled from over 40k consumer products sold today in the US at the top retailers and big box stores. Product vendors are required to register all products with SmarterX before they can hit store shelves - so that the retailer knows how to safely store, ship and dispose of it. SmarterX identifies and analyzes the detailed chemical makeup of all components of consumer products, and has APIs that cross-check these ingredient details against all state and local regulations - as well as retailer-specific rules. 

While outdoor recreation equipment is the largest concern right now for consumer safety and regulatory changes, countless other product categories contain lithium-ion batteries and could be impacted. It’s also critical that consumers and retailers understand what types of products contain these batteries - so they can handle them safely (for both people and the environment). In fact, home appliances account for over 10% of all products containing these batteries - and kids toys & games also represent nearly 3%. 

The full list of individual products can be found here. 

The Latest in CPG Regulations: August 2023
August 30, 2023
5 min read

The Latest in CPG Regulations: August 2023

Recent regulatory changes, specifically the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) guidance for hand sanitizers and the new hazardous waste regulations in California, are sparking changes across the industry. Here are a few key takeaways and guidance on how to chart these regulatory waters.

Recent regulatory changes, specifically the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) guidance for hand sanitizers and the new hazardous waste regulations in California, are sparking changes across the industry. Here are a few key takeaways and guidance on how to chart these regulatory waters.

It's important to stay vigilant in understanding and complying with these  regulatory changes. But remember -- we're here to chart these waters with you and for you. Reach out to our team at any time with questions at  

Understanding RCRA and Hand Sanitizers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revised its stance on the RCRA industrial ethyl alcohol exemption as it relates to alcohol-based hand sanitizers. The previous interpretation treated unused alcohol-based hand sanitizer as regulated hazardous waste but this is now likely to change, with the EPA allowing generators of unused alcohol-based hand sanitizer to consider energy recovery as a disposal path.

  • In the wake of possible changes, retailers should confirm their disposal practices comply with TTB and EPA regulations. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) regulations apply to recycling of industrial ethyl alcohol. Therefore, retailers should make sure their disposal partners abide by these rules. If unused alcohol-based hand sanitizer is being recycled then the generator must comply with the RCRA legitimacy factors in 40 CFR 260.43.
  • For suppliers, make sure to evaluate your disposal process. Unless you are managing unused alcohol-based hand sanitizer as RCRA regulated hazardous waste,  the material must be treated as a valuable commodity when it is under your control. Additionally, you should ensure that your waste hauler understands whether the material is hazardous waste or intended for reclamation. The latest EPA interpretation, published May 5 2023, allows generators of unused alcohol-based hand sanitizer to  consider energy recovery. Reclaimed ethanol can be used as a fuel or fuel additive and can be burned for energy recovery within the U.S., as long as all applicable TTB regulations and RCRA legitimacy factors are complied with throughout the reclamation process. 

Navigating California’s New Hazardous Waste Regulations

In response to California Senate Bill 158, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will now be developing new Hazardous Waste Management Reports and Plans every three years. The bill's primary goals are to establish a baseline understanding of hazardous waste management, identify data gaps, and make plans to fill these gaps.

  • With this process change in mind, retailers should take the time to engage with it. You have the opportunity to provide input during the planning process, which may be a valuable chance to express any concerns or potential impacts to business operations. Also, stay updated! Keep abreast of legislative updates, especially regarding potential changes in waste management hierarchy, as it could affect the strategies to reduce hazardous waste generation.
  • For suppliers, take the time to align your operations. The new regulations emphasize waste reduction, recycling, and treatment before disposal. Suppliers must ensure their operations align with this hierarchy. Also, participate in and prioritize data collection. As the DTSC seeks to fill data gaps, suppliers may have the opportunity to contribute meaningful data and potentially influence the direction of future waste management strategies in California. And finally, plan for stricter standards. With less than 19 percent of hazardous waste tracked in California classified as hazardous under federal criteria, expect California's regulations to be stricter. Suppliers should be prepared for more stringent rules and broader scopes of hazardous waste identification.
retail compliance solutions
regulated wasted management
Boosting Collaboration: Supplier Insights for Retailers
August 22, 2023
5 min read

Boosting Collaboration: Supplier Insights for Retailers

In the dynamic landscape of retail, fostering strong relationships between retailers and suppliers is crucial for mutual success. We surveyed suppliers across the country to better understand their key concerns, pain points, and aspirations when it comes to this collaboration.

In the dynamic retail landscape, a symbiotic relationship between retailers and suppliers is crucial for success. We surveyed suppliers across the country to better understand their key concerns, pain points, and aspirations when it comes to this collaboration. Let's delve into the findings and discover how retailers can better understand and support their supplier and vendor partners (in their regulatory compliance process and beyond): 

1. Phthalates and SLS: A Focal Point

Suppliers are expressing mild concerns about the impact of ingredients like phthalates and SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) on their ability to sell products through retailers. These ingredient types can limit their market access due to regulatory requirements and consumer preferences that inform things like Restricted Substances Lists. Retailers should be aware of these concerns and work collaboratively with suppliers to proactively communicate about any restrictions around these ingredients, and help them navigate them while maintaining product quality and standards. 

2. Transparency on Demand Drives Retailer-Supplier Relations

While ease of collaboration with third-party platforms remains important, transparency around demand emerges as a paramount concern for suppliers in their relationships with retailers. Retailers who can provide clearer and ongoing insights into demand trends and forecasts will create an environment of trust and alignment. This understanding enhances decision-making and streamlines the supply chain.

3. The Complexity of the Classification Process

Suppliers expressed their wish for retailers to better comprehend the complexities of the product classification process. The time and effort spent on uploading data to multiple platforms, coupled with the challenge of dealing with one-dimensional data, contribute to inefficiencies and increased costs for suppliers across the board. Retailers can make a significant impact by working closely with their classification partners to streamline data sharing, optimize lead times, and provide easier guidelines and steps for getting through the classification process. 

4. Cost (Particularly in Shipping) is a Major Supply Chain Concern

Suppliers highlighted increasing costs, particularly in shipping, as a top supply chain concern. New regulations affecting shipping and general inflation have led to rising expenses. The unpredictability of these changes amplifies suppliers' worries. Furthermore, the anticipation of regulatory changes and retailers' proactive adaptation to these changes is a key point of anxiety for suppliers. Retailers can provide reassurance by fostering a stable environment, adapting to regulatory shifts, and working collaboratively to manage costs.

Quality, for us, means providing the best – ingredients, formulation, and performance – in each and every one of our products
5. Recognizing Suppliers' Expertise and Standards

A prevailing sentiment among suppliers is the desire for retailers to understand their high-quality standards, in-depth product knowledge, and expertise in navigating regulations. Suppliers invest substantial time and effort in formulating their products and complying with industry guidelines. Acknowledging this expertise not only strengthens the retailer-supplier relationship but also promotes a shared commitment to delivering exceptional products to consumers.

By addressing concerns such as ingredient limitations, transparency, data complexities, supply chain costs, and recognizing supplier expertise, retailers can pave the way for more collaborative, efficient, and mutually beneficial partnerships. As the retail landscape continues to evolve, nurturing these relationships becomes a cornerstone of success for all stakeholders involved. For a more detailed look into the survey findings, reach out to us at

retail compliance solutions
Supply chain
The Latest in CPG Regulations: June 2023
June 12, 2023
5 min read

The Latest in CPG Regulations: June 2023

Let’s face it – CPG regulations can be convoluted. They are often (necessarily) filled with complexity and nuance that don’t make it easy to decipher how exactly they may affect you and the products you sell. These recent updates cover four main areas: DOT PHMSA International Harmonization (HM-215Q), Vermont HB 67, and Washington SB 5144, and MOCRA. So, let's dive in.

Let’s face it – CPG regulations can be convoluted. They are often (necessarily) filled with complexity and nuance that don’t make it easy to decipher how exactly they may affect you and the products you sell. 

We know how important it is for you to stay up-to-date with anything that could impact your business. That's why we're here to fill you in on some interesting updates that we're keeping a close eye on. These recent updates cover four main areas: DOT PHMSA International Harmonization (HM-215Q), Vermont HB 67, and Washington SB 5144, and MOCRA. So, let's dive in.

DOT PHMSA International Harmonization (HM-215Q)

Get ready for some positive changes: The Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has proposed a rule (HM-215Q) that will make your life easier. The new rule was proposed in May, and is likely to be finalized by EOY. Here's what you need to know:

  • Button cell batteries: Good news. You'll still need to test button cell batteries installed in equipment, but you won't have to worry about sharing the Test Summary (TS) report anymore. It's a small change, but it means less paperwork and more streamlined compliance for you.
  • Lithium battery markings: Say goodbye to the phone number requirement on the lithium battery mark. This simplification will make labeling lithium batteries easier and removes confusion from the supply chain. 
  • PSN and ID8000 updates: There are a few minor updates to the Proper Shipping Name (PSN) and ID8000. These updates will help you properly identify and ship hazardous materials. It's essential to stay informed about these changes to ensure you're on the right track when it comes to shipping regulations.
Vermont HB 67

Vermont has some interesting legislation in the works, and it's something you'll want to pay attention to. The legislation was delivered on May 12th and comes with 2025 implementation dates. Here's the lowdown:

  • Funding the HHW program: The new law would require manufacturers and brands to step up and fund the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) program in Vermont.
  • Increased responsibility on the consumer for haz-waste vs. non haz-waste: This change could mean that the distinction between Haz-waste and Non-haz-waste would be as important to consumers, waste management entities, recyclers, and brands as it is to Retailers.
  • Waste handling fees and brand responsibility: The legislation allows for waste handling fees, which will be redistributed to brands, and is typically based on their market share. Orphaned products (products without a brand owner) would be collectively covered by participating brands. 
  • Exemptions and special considerations: The law includes exemptions for certain products like pesticides, cosmetics, drugs, certain paints, and already covered electronics and batteries. Make sure you're aware of these exemptions to avoid any compliance headaches. 
Washington SB 5144

Washington has also got some new regulations coming your way. The legislation was signed on May 11th by the governor, with 2027 implementation dates. Here's the scoop:

  • Battery stewardship plan: If you are a “producer”of covered batteries or products containing them, you'll need to participate in a state-approved battery stewardship plan. It's all about responsible management and ensuring proper recycling and disposal.
  • Who's a producer? The law broadly defines a producer as battery manufacturers, retail brands, third-party brands, licensees of a brand, importers, or anyone selling the product in the state. It's an inclusive, hierarchical definition to ensure accountability throughout the battery supply chain.
  • Battery markings and compliance: although coming into force at a later date, “producers” shall supply, and retailers must collect, a certification that the covered batteries have the required "producer" marking along with the battery chemistry. Lawmakers are placing primary responsibility on the producer, but also require due diligence from retailers.
FDA's Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act of 2022

Although published at the end of 2022, there’s significant regulatory change coming that impacts the cosmetics industry:

  • FDA regulations for fragrance allergen rules: The FDA is mandated to promulgate regulations for allergen rules within 18 months of December 29, 2023. Keep an eye out for these regulations to ensure your products comply with the new requirements.
  • Fragrance allergen ingredient disclosure: Once the list of fragrance allergens is finalized, brands and manufacturers must disclose these allergens on the cosmetic product label . This means you may see changes in product labeling and information provided to customers.
  • Does label disclosure equal FDA disclosure? While label disclosure is an important part of complying with FDA regulations, producers of cosmetic products must also register with the FDA and submit a Cosmetic Product Listing, which includes “...a list of ingredients in the cosmetic product, including any fragrances, flavors, or colors, with each ingredient identified by the name, as required under section 701.3 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor regulations), or by the common or usual name of the ingredient”.  Will this disclosure of information to the FDA be the same information required on the product label? The answer will impact the logistics of information transparency in the supply chain.

Staying informed about regulatory updates doesn't have to be overwhelming. These updates are here to make your life easier. So stay in the loop, adapt your processes as needed, and reach out to our team of experts with questions at any time, and check back next month for more updates. 

Waste Management
consumer products
regulated wasted management
Demystifying 1,4 Dioxane: What you need to know
May 18, 2023
5 min read

Demystifying 1,4 Dioxane: What you need to know

Lately, the regulatory spotlight has been shining on one particularly confusing chemical in consumer products: 1,4-dioxane. 

Both California and New York have already issued new guidance targeting 1,4 dioxane. These new restrictions will mean that both retailers and suppliers need to pay attention to where the substance may be, and be ready to confirm that it is not in their products at a certain level.  So, we’ve put together a quick look at the reasons behind the urgency around 1,4 dioxane and some tips for how to stay ahead of the curve.  

1,4 dioxane: What is it? And why does it matter? 

1,4-dioxane is a substance that can be created when making detergents, soaps, and creams, and it’s now considered an environmental contaminant and a probable human carcinogen. 1,4-dioxane contamination can occur rather easily – as a byproduct of the manufacturing processes when making these products. It is also intentionally used at higher concentrations as a solvent in industrial manufacturing processes. Studies have also shown that the harmful substance can easily dissolve in water, which means it could be found in unsafe amounts in drinking water.  

All of this has, naturally, made consumers and regulatory bodies worried about finding it in things they use and its possible effects on our health. However a risk evaluation published by the US EPA in 2020 found no unreasonable risks to consumers or bystanders from any conditions of use, including eight consumer uses of surface cleaners, laundry/dishwashing detergents, and paint/floor lacquer where 1,4-dioxane is present as a byproduct.

Regulatory changes and how to keep up 

While there is still a lot of unknown around the future of 1,4 dioxane, specific new regulations have started to gain traction. The Food and Drug Administration had previously encouraged suppliers to minimize 1,4-dioxane content, but New York has now taken a proactive approach by implementing a restriction on dioxane contamination levels in products. As of December 31, 2022, cleaning and personal care products are limited to 2 parts per million (ppm), while cosmetics are limited to 10 ppm. And the cleaning and personal care limit was set to reduce to 1 ppm by December 31, 2023.

1,4-dioxane has also been getting attention because of the California Cleaning Product Right-To-Know Act of 2017. Under this new regulation, it must be disclosed on a products website as a “nonfunctional constituent” when  it's present at or above 10 parts per million (ppm). Since this chemical is also a carcinogen on the California Proposition 65 list, it might be subject to labeling requirements even below this threshold.

There a few simple - but crucial - steps both suppliers and retailers can take to stay ahead of these changes: 

  1. Brush up on which product categories are affected by these bans. You can find product categories that are likely to fall under the ban on the NY State Department of Conservation website. 
  2. Suppliers: Be ready with specific evidence proving the dioxane content for your products is below the allowable threshold. If a product uses a “ethoxylated” ingredient (commonly employed in the production of personal care, household care products) it might contain a regulated amount of 1,4 dioxane. Determine which products you have contain these ingredients, so you can narrow down which items you need to obtain evidence for and make sure you have that on-hand. 
  3. Retailers: Maintain an open-line of communication with suppliers. Your suppliers know their products’ best and have the information you need to prove that the dioxane levels are below allowable thresholds. 

The NY Dioxane Ban, along with evolving regulatory guidelines, can be confusing to navigate and leave more questions than answers. Lean on your suppliers, retailers and regulatory partners to help translate and prepare for these new guidelines as effectively as possible. 

By staying informed and maintaining close collaboration with your partners, you can successfully navigate these regulations, avoid costly fines or product delays, and provide consumers with safe and transparent choices. 

Smarter Sorting Rebrands as SmarterX, a Data Platform Helping 1,700+ Clients Across Retail and Consumer Goods
February 17, 2023
5 min read

Smarter Sorting Rebrands as SmarterX, a Data Platform Helping 1,700+ Clients Across Retail and Consumer Goods

The new name reflects the company's solutioning, data services and APIs that are helping clients with compliance, automation, logistics, and sustainability.

BOULDER, COLO., February 16, 2023 – Smarter Sorting, a leader in using data to transform retail operations from compliance to sustainability, today announced the rebranding of Smarter Sorting to SmarterXTM.

SmarterXTM is a retail and consumer goods data company that provides product intelligence, regulatory classifications, and decisioning to retailers, consumer goods companies and the logistics industry. The product intelligence provided by SmarterX helps its clients make, move and market products in the most compliant, efficient, and sustainable ways possible. 

The company’s rebrand and new name follows a year of 3X growth. In 2022, the company added new clients from the retail and consumer goods industries, as well as developing new integrations with retail inventory software and non-profits such as Feeding America. At the same time, SmarterX has relocated its headquarters to Boulder, Colorado, a city known as a magnet for technology companies and sustainability entrepreneurs. 

“We’re proud of our roots and we’re passionate about our evolution.” said Jacqueline Claudia, CEO of SmarterXTM. “From the start, we focused on helping companies and organizations comply with environmental regulations. Today, we’re achieving our early vision for the company to not only power better waste diversion but also help our clients and their partners, up and down the supply chain, be more efficient and more sustainable.” 

New APIs, including SmarterX’s unique Back of Store Solution (BOSSTM) APIs, are helping retailers be more sustainable while reducing costs. Moreover, the company’s ability to send valuable data such as fast, accurate shipping classifications is helping companies make better choices when it comes to ecommerce, environmental impact, and supply chain automation.

Dave Andre who recently joined SmarterX as Chief Product and Technology Officer - and has extensive experience including Group CTO at Trustly and Founder & CEO at Cartera - noted that, “The new name, SmarterX, is fitting for a company that helps retailers, brands and supply chain partners in many unique ways make accurate real-time decisions for more sustainable and profitable business.” 

He went on to add, “Our extensive product data, including chemical formulation, computational chemistry analytics, and detailed rules engine, powers the many ways we’re helping our clients. From transportation to storage and from verifying ingredient-free claims to ensuring returns are sustainably handled, SmarterX enables enterprises to make mission-critical product handling decisions that are good for business and the planet.”

About SmarterX

Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, SmarterX™, formerly known as Smarter Sorting, helps companies make better decisions to make, market, and move consumer products. Its customers include the world’s biggest CPG brands, leading warehouse clubs, big box retail, and national grocery chains. The company’s customers use its Product Intelligence Platform™ to gain product insights and identify how to best handle consumer products across the supply chain, to remain compliant, avoid fines, and reduce their environmental impact. The company has won awards for innovation and impact, including Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas and Most Innovative Companies, BuiltIn’s Best Place to Work, as well as a Real Leader Impact Award and the SEAL Sustainable Innovation Award. Smarter Sorting is an Unreasonable Impact company. Learn more at

Media Contact:

Natalie Rizk, SmarterX

Press Release
The Product Intelligence Platform™: The single source of truth for accurate product classification
December 12, 2022
5 min read

The Product Intelligence Platform™: The single source of truth for accurate product classification

The Product Intelligence PlatformTM is the place where products are classified. It's a platform for retailers and brand manufacturers to collaborate.

At SmarterX, we put sustainability into action, especially when it comes to classifying consumer products.

Inaccurate, slow and error-prone classification methods leave:

  • Retailers with uncertainty about store level product compliance
  • Stakeholders vulnerable to regulatory fines and supply chain delays
  • Shipping companies and regulated waste haulers with logistical dilemmas

A platform for peace of mind

The Product Intelligence Platform™️ is a secure, cloud-based database linking our retail partners and brands to fast and accurate regulatory product classifications.

The Product Intelligence Platform™️ is the place where products are classified. It's a platform for retailers and brand manufacturers to collaborate. Retailers can manage all their hazardous and regulated products. Brands have an easy, frictionless way to share their product data. The result: retailers and brands can make decisions using accurate product data.

We recently completed registration for all regulated products for a major retailer with 2,200+ stores. Products registered shot up over 30% in the past 3 months to meet the retailer's registration deadline.

"The registration process was very easy. I didn’t expect our products to be reviewed and approved so quickly - and yet they were. I am very happy with the Product Intelligence Platform!” - Edward Ro, Pureboost

Our Product Intelligence Platform™️ is at the heart of delivering impressive results in three key areas:

1) Accurate product classifications

Brands register their products by entering a few details to get the most accurate product classifications, without revealing confidential information.

2) Instant regulatory and compliance decisions

With the Back of Store System (BOSS), retailers get waste codes, transportation regulations and disposal classifications for every product on their shelves.

3) Detailed EHS reports and insights

Through Tableau dashboards and tracking of EHS/ESG metrics, retailers and brands can access a comprehensive suite of reporting and insights.

With our platform, registering products is simple. Brands can register products one-by-one, or in bulk. Check out our step-by-step product registration guide.

Data from the source

We collect a vast amount of data on everyday consumer products. Currently, we are in the process of registering the entire catalog (3,600+ products) of the world’s largest consumer goods company.

  • We only collect product information from trusted sources to make sure we have the most accurate data.
  • We only ask for information we need. Full product formulation and proprietary data is likely not required for accurate classification.
  • We fill in the gaps with additional product data from trusted sources like SmartLabel, 1WorldSync or Salsify.

Mind your Rs and Cs: Classifications translated into Regulation and Compliance

We are the first to take a computational approach to product classifications. We use machine learning, computational chemistry and regulatory AI to marry our millions of product data points with over 7,000 rules and regulations, some of which are listed below:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

International Air Transport Association (IATA)

Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)

Department of Transportation (DOT)

California Air Resources Board (CARB)

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG)

A Real Leaders Eco Innovation Award Winner

The Product Intelligence Platform™️ has been recognized by Real Leaders as a Top 50 winner in the 2022 Real Leaders® Eco Innovation Awards, a distinction that celebrates innovative environmental solutions for the greater good.

The Product Intelligence Platform™ is being used by over 1,600 brand manufacturers who supply some of the biggest US supermarket chains and one of the world’s largest warehouse clubs.

Placing product intelligence in the hands of retailers and brands, our Product Intelligence Platform™ is the platform you can trust.

retail compliance solutions
consumer products
chemical products
Our Products
California’s Battery and E-Waste EPR Programs are Getting an Upgrade
October 14, 2022
5 min read

California’s Battery and E-Waste EPR Programs are Getting an Upgrade

To reduce the number of incidents with improperly handled batteries, two bills were recently signed into law in the state of California.

Two bills were recently signed into law in the state of California:
Senate Bill 1215 (SB 1215) and Assembly Bill 2440 (AB 2440). Here's what you need to know.

E-waste typically suggests unwanted keyboards, TVs, headphones — all carelessly chucked into a dumpster. But hidden in this pile of electronic trash is a bigger problem: batteries. These commodities power our devices, and have become ubiquitous in modern life. But they can be dangerous and difficult to dispose of.

Battery-caused fires at recycling plants are becoming a more common occurrence, particularly for lithium ion batteries, which are inherently flammable when exposed to high temperatures, damaged, or mishandled. One source suggests that we could be looking at 300 to 400 fires in a year in Canada and the US. The Environmental Protection Agency has flagged the issue, as an area of concern, not surprising given Americans buy approximately 3 billion batteries every year.

Why does this matter to retailers, manufacturers and waste handlers?

To reduce the number of incidents with improperly handled batteries, two bills were recently signed into law in the state of California: Senate Bill 1215 (SB 1215) and Assembly Bill 2440 (AB 2440). Both bills define the responsibilities for manufacturers and retailers going forward, and work to replace existing battery extended producer responsibility (EPR) laws in the state with a comprehensive, singular battery EPR program. This will ensure more efficient collection, handling, and disposal of used batteries. And hopefully, fewer fires.

Although action from retailers won’t be required until 2026 and state regulators will begin their work in 2025, these are significant changes for responsibly-minded entities and all who are covered under the new laws. And companies should start understanding and planning how to manage their obligations 2023 onward. Forward looking retailers should start to make detailed plans for these practices now. Data and technology solutions that streamline this process will be important. Reporting to demonstrate compliance with the new regulations will also be valuable to show that implementation of new processes is working and the ROI of following the new regulations is measurable.

Retailers especially will want to take precautions to avoid noncompliance, which can incur fines of up to $10,000 per day. Further down the supply chain, consumers will be asked to pay a fee to cover recycling costs on certain new and refurbished items, starting January 2026.

Breaking down the new California assembly and senate bills

Here’s a brief breakdown of each bill, and tips on how retailers can stay ahead of the game to ensure compliance.

CA AB2440: Responsible Battery Recycling Act of 2022


  • The bill phases out the Cell Phone Recycling Act of 2004 and the Rechargeable Battery Act of 2006, and enacts the Responsible Battery Recycling Act of 2022 in their place.

  • These new guidelines are applicable to “covered batteries,” which are defined as: batteries sold separately from a product; batteries that can be easily removed; and batteries packaged with or in products (but not necessarily embedded in a product).

  • It puts the responsibility on producers (think manufacturers and brands) to ensure that “covered batteries” are being recycled. This can be done by either creating their own stewardship program to collect batteries, or join an existing one. Programs need to be in effect by April 1, 2027.

  • Producers also have to keep track of batteries sold: producers will need to report to CalRecycle all batteries and brands that are sold, distributed, or imported for sale. This must be done by March 15, 2023.

  • In fact, any retailer or online marketplace selling a covered battery must be “in compliance.” A retailer or distributor, therefore, cannot sell, distribute, offer for sale, or import a covered battery in or into the state unless the producer of that covered battery is listed as “in compliance.”


  • Adapt to new battery collection requirements: Retailers of covered batteries with five or more locations in the state need to make all locations serve as permanent collection sites for covered batteries as part of an approved stewardship program.

  • Only sell covered batteries from “compliant” producers:
  • Know which covered battery producers are listed on the Calrecycle “compliant” list, and refrain from selling items from non-compliant producers.
  • Penalties of $10k per day can be levied against retailers caught selling products from noncompliant producers.

CA SB1215


  • The bill amends the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 (EWRA).

  • It expands the definition of “covered electronic device (CED)” in California to include battery embedded products (i.e. products containing batteries that are not easily removed within common household tools). These would typically be smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, video game hardware, and some laptops.

  • It also expands the reporting and recordkeeping requirements for manufacturers.

  • It introduces a consumer fee at the point of sale for all battery-embedded products sold within the state.


  • Understand the new recycling fee requirements for battery-embedded devices:
  • Be prepared to start collecting fees on January 1st, 2026.
  • Retailers may retain 3% of the collected fee as reimbursement for the costs of collecting the fee.
  • Retailers may pay the fee in lieu of the customer and must explicitly note if they have done so on any receipt provided.
  • Understand which devices are battery embedded by the definition, or video display device.

  • Manufacturers must submit an annual notice to retailers identifying the device by brand and model number and informing the retailer as to whether the product is subject to the new recycling fee.

How should retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and brands tackle these changes?

Smarter Sorting’s Product Intelligence Platform can help retailers and brands make sense of these new regulations by simplifying and streamlining the data, and thus staying in compliance.

  • Easy access to data on compliant brands:
  • With the PIP, Smarter Sorting has access to the state list of compliant brands, and can instantly check this list for retailers. Retailers can avoid costly fines and be in compliance.
  • Identify battery embedded devices to levy the proper consumer fees:
  • Because our proprietary, ingredient-level database knows exactly what is in every device (including whether the device has embedded batteries), we can instantly identify items that consumer fees must be applied to, ensuring retailers are collecting sufficient fees for the EPR programs.
  • Eliminate confusion with laws and ensure compliance
  • These laws can be complicated to understand with little insight at the product and brand level. But with PIP, we have all the data tied to product identifiers, so retailers don’t need to hunt around for information or guess. It’s a time-saving, and therefore, money-saving tools.

If you have questions, please reach out to the Smarter Sorting team. You can request a demo here.

regulated wasted management
retail compliance solutions
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