May 17 - Biodegradable or Compostable? New Bill Helps Consumers Choose.

Every week, new articles emerge about the misinterpreted expectations of the eco-products now filling up the shelves at our neighborhood market. With a plethora of terms, labels, and certifications, consumers are not alone when they become overwhelmed and often confused.

SB 567 (Truthful Environmental Advertising in Plastics), a bill by Senator DeSaulnier, hopes to put this dilemma to rest, at least when it comes to plastic products.

"Because companies know being environmental stewards is good marketing, we have the issue of greenwashing. That’s why we need truth in advertising," DeSaulnier said.

Specifically, SB 567 bans the use of the term "biodegradable" in favor of the term "compostable" on all plastic products; the latter term being backed up by nationally recognized scientific standards.

CAW’s Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Scott Smithline, talks about the inherent problems with plastic and bioplastic labeling standards (or lack of) in the following Earth911.com article.

"’Biodegradable’ is meaningless outside of context," Smithline said. "Any organic product is chemically biodegradable. Petroleum is biodegradable. Plastic bags are biodegradable in a hundred years."

Need a refresher about what bioplastics are? Read our informative Bioplastic Campaign page here