Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, Project No. P954501
Section 260.1 – Renewable Materials Claims Recommendation from AAMA is for the FTC to define claims that a product or package is “made with renewable materials” as not deceptive if the marketer can substantiate the renewable content of the product or package even if the marketer cannot substantiate that the product or package is recyclable, made with recycled content, or biodegradable since the marketer did not make any such claims. Some products consisting of biological material are not made with many or any components that provide an opportunity for the manufacturer to incorporate recycled content or materials that would be considered recyclable or biodegradable. However, these companies and products should not be penalized on the basis of a gross misinterpretation and misconception by end users. This section of the proposed revised Green Guides holds companies in this situation accountable for product attributes that are not actually being claimed which is not consistent with other sections of the Green Guides. Specifically, the Recycled Content section of the Green Guides quite correctly does not require that marketers claiming to have products or packaging “made with recycled content” must be able to also substantiate that the product or packaging is recyclable, made with renewable content, or biodegradable. As such, it is inappropriate to require substantiation of such additional product attributes with respect to renewable content claims. The fact that “reasonable consumers” presumably maintain an entirely inaccurate perception of what “renewable content” means should not justify penalizing companies using such materials in their products. The FTC should be encouraging companies to produce products that utilize renewable materials, not making it less advantageous for those companies by adopting impractical requirements that fuel continued marketplace misperception.