Companies making fake environmental marketing claims--watch out. The Federal Trade Commission continues to take action and enforce its Green Guides, which covers claims such as "biodegradable," "recyclable", and "recycled content."
A press release last Friday revealed a recent FTC administrative complaint and proposed consent order against N.E.W. Plastics Corp, a Wisconsin based company selling and distributing lumber alternatives made with recycled plastic.
Although the company advertised that its products contained 90% recycled content and was recyclable, FTC alleged that these claims are false and unsubstantiated. At most, the products contained 58% recycled plastic, and cannot be considered recyclable because they don't meet the threshold requirement (i.e., accepted in local recycling program for 60% or more of households).
The company is ordered to remove the claims and only provide environmental claims that can be backed by credible evidence.
Jessica Rich, Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, stated, "Consumers deserve to know the truth about the products they are buying. Many of them want to buy products that are environmentally friendly, but they can’t do that if they get information that’s wrong or unsupported."
Public comment on the consent order is accepted until March 24, 2014. Once finalized, violations of the order can result in civil penalties of $16,000 per violation.
Read more about other recent actions the FTC has taken against false claims. Learn more about CAW's work on false environmental claims in California.