Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final consent order settling charges that N.E.W. Plastics Corp., a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of plastic lumber products, misled consumers and distributors about the recycled content, post-consumer recycled content, and recyclability of its products.
The FTC’s February 2014 complaint alleges that between September 2012 and March 2013 the company made false and misleading claims that its Evolve plastic lumber products are made from 90 percent or more recycled content. It also alleged that the company made false and misleading claims that its Trimax plastic lumber products are made from mostly post-consumer recycled content and that both Evolve and Trimax are recyclable.
Under the FTC’s final order, the company must have credible evidence to support any claims it makes about its products’ recycled content, post-consumer recycled content, recyclability, or any other environmental benefit, and is required to tell its distributors to stop using marketing material for the two products provided by the company before December 2013.
The final order also bars N.E.W. from making unqualified recyclable claims about any product or package, unless the product or package can be recycled in an established recycling program, and such facilities are available to at least 60 percent of consumers or communities where the product or package is sold.
The Commission vote approving the final order was 4-0. (FTC File No.132-3126; the staff contact is Elisa Jillison, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3001)
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Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs