The Federal Trade Commission today announced a “new and improved” version of one of its most popular products, its Environmental Marketing Guides. The updated guides reflect changing consumer perceptions about what various environmental claims mean and the emergence of new claims since these FTC guides first were announced in July 1992. Additional guidance now is provided on the use of environmental seal-of-approval logos and the chasing arrows symbol, as well as for such marketing claims as "environmentally preferable," "non- toxic," and "chlorine free." The guides retain the section on general advertising principles, and continue to address specific categories of environmental benefit claims, such as degradable, recycled content and ozone friendly. Minor changes also have been made in a few instances for purposes of clarification.
The FTC said that it is awaiting the results of ongoing consumer research before it deter mines whether to modify the guides as to claims that products are "recyclable" or "compostable." The Commission also is seeking public comment on whether consumers perceive the recondi tioning and/or reuse of product parts to be recycling. Comments and survey data in response to this request are due Nov. 25, 1996.
The revised guides are effective immediately, and the 1992 guides on recyclable and compostable claims continue to remain in effect unless subsequently amended.
"The Commission is gratified that the guides received such broad public support during this review process," said Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Jodie Bernstein. "Because of that support, only those changes necessary to further protect consumers from misleading claims and to provide guidance to manufacturers on how to advertise truthfully the environmental benefits of their products were made."
In addition to receiving written comments, the Commission held a two-day public workshop-conference so that all interested parties could present their views directly. State and federal government representatives, environmental groups, industry groups, academics and individuals participated in the conference. This forum afforded participants an opportunity to debate the issues and helped shape the Commission’s decision-making process.
Among the additions to the guides are the following:
The Commission vote to announce the revised guides was 5-0. They will be published in the Federal Register shortly.
Public comments on whether reconditioned and/or reused parts should be called recycled and additional survey data on recyclable and compostable claims are due by Nov. 25, and should be sent to the Secretary, FTC, Room 159-H, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Comments should be identified “16 CFR Part 260 -- Comment” and submitted on computer disk so that they can be placed on the FTC’s Web site.
Copies of the notice to be published in the Federal Register announcing the revised guides are available from the FTC’s Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC’s World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov
Bonnie Jansen or Victoria Streitfeld
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2161 or 202-326-2718
Bureau of Consumer Protection
Lee Peeler, 202-326-3090
Kevin Bank, 202-326-2675
Michael Dershowitz, 202-326-3158
(FTC Matter No. P954501)