16 CFR Section 260.1 Statement of purpose.
These guides represent administrative interpretations of laws
administered by the Federal Trade Commission for the guidance of the
public in conducting its affairs in conformity with legal requirements.
These guides specifically address the application of section 5 of the FTC
Act (15 U.S.C. 45) to environmental advertising and marketing practices.
They provide the basis for voluntary compliance with such laws by members
of industry. Conduct inconsistent with the positions articulated in
these guides may result in corrective action by the Commission under
section 5 if, after investigation, the Commission has reason to believe
that the behavior falls within the scope of conduct declared unlawful by
16 CFR Section 260.2 Scope of Guides
These guides apply to environmental claims included in labeling,
advertising, promotional materials and all other forms of marketing,
whether asserted directly or by implication, through words, symbols,
emblems, logos, depictions, product brand names, or through any other
means. The guides apply to any claim about the environmental attributes
of a product or package in connection with the sales, offering for sale,
or marketing of such product or package for personal, family or household
use, or for commercial, institutional or industrial use. Because the
guides are not legislative rules under section 18 of the FTC Act, they
are not themselves enforceable regulations, nor do they have the force
and effect of law. The guides themselves do not preempt regulation of
other Federal agencies or of State and local bodies governing the use of
environmental marketing claims. Compliance with Federal, State or local
law and regulations concerning such claims, however, will not necessarily
preclude Commission law enforcement action under section 5.
16 CFR Section 260.3 Structure of the guides.
The guides are composed of general principles and specific guidance on
the use of environmental claims. These general principles and specific
guidance are followed by examples that generally address a single
deception concern. A given claim may raise issues that are addressed
under more than one example and in more than one section of the guides.
In many of the examples, one or more options are presented for qualifying
a claim. These options are intended to provide a "safe harbor" for
marketers who want certainty about how to make environmental claims. They
do not represent the only permissible approaches to qualifying a claim.
The examples do not illustrate all possible acceptable claims or
disclosures that would be permissible under section 5. In addition, some
of the illustrative disclosures may be appropriate for use on labels but
not in print or broadcast advertisements and vice versa. In some
instances, the guides indicate within the example in what context or
contexts a particular type of disclosure should be considered.
16 CFR Section 260.4 Review procedure.
Three years after the date of adoption of these guides, the Commission
will seek public comment on whether and how the guides need to be
modified in light of ensuing developments. Parties may petition the
Commission to alter or amend these guides in light of substantial new
evidence regarding consumer interpretation of a claim or regarding
substantiation of a claim. Following review of such a petition, the
Commission will take such action as it deems appropriate.
16 CFR Section 260.5 Interpretation and substantiation of environmental
Section 5 of the FTC Act makes unlawful deceptive acts and practices in
or affecting commerce. The Commission's criteria for determining whether
an express or implied claim has been made are enunciated in the
Commission's Policy Statement on Deception. n1 In addition, any party
making an express or implied claim that presents an objective assertion
about the environmental attribute of a product or package must, at the
time the claim is made, possess and rely upon a reasonable basis
substantiating the claim. A reasonable basis consists of competent and
reliable evidence. In the context of environmental marketing claims, such
substantiation will often require competent and reliable scientific
evidence. For any test, analysis, research, study or other evidence to be
"competent and reliable" for purposes of these guides, it must be
conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by persons qualified to do
so, using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield
accurate and reliable results. Further guidance on the reasonable basis
standard is set forth in the Commission's 1983 Policy Statement on the
Advertising Substantiation Doctrine. 49 FR 30,999 (1984); appended to
Thompson Medical Co., 104 FTC 648 (1984). These guides, therefore,
attempt to preview Commission policy in a relatively new context--that of
n1 Cliffdale Associates, Inc., 103 FTC 110, at 176, 176 n.7, n.8,
appendix, reprinting letter dated Oct. 14, 1983, from the Commission to
The Honorable John D. Dingell, Chairman, Committee on Energy and
Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives (1984) ("Deception Statement").
16 CFR Section 260.6 General principles.
The following general principles apply to all environmental marketing
claims, including, but not limited to, those described in @ 260.7. In
addition, @ 260.7 contains specific guidance applicable to certain
environmental marketing claims. Claims should comport with all relevant
provisions of these guides, not simply the provision that seems most
(a) Qualifications and Disclosures. The Commission traditionally has held
that in order to be effective, any qualifications or disclosures such as
those described in these guides should be sufficiently clear and
prominent to prevent deception. Clarity of language, relative type size
and proximity to the claim being qualified, and an absence of contrary
claims that could undercut effectiveness, will maximize the likelihood
that the qualifications and disclosures are appropriately clear and
(b) Distinction Between Benefits of Product and Package. An environmental
marketing claim should be presented in a way that makes clear whether the
environmental attribute or benefit being asserted refers to the product,
the product's packaging or to a portion or component of the product or
packaging. In general, if the environmental attribute or benefit applies
to all but minor, incidental components of a product or package, the
claim need not be qualified to identify that fact. There may be
exceptions to this general principle. For example, if an unqualified
"recyclable" claim is made and the presence of the incidental component
significantly limits the ability to recycle the product, then the claim
would be deceptive.
Example 1: A box of aluminum foil is labeled with the claim "recyclable,"
without further elaboration. Unless the type of product, surrounding
language, or other context of the phrase establishes whether the claim
refers to the foil or the box, the claim is deceptive if any part of
either the box or the foil, other than minor, incidental components,
cannot be recycled.
Example 2: A soft drink bottle is labeled "recycled." The bottle is made
entirely from recycled materials, but the bottle cap is not. Because
reasonable consumers are likely to consider the bottle cap to be a minor,
incidental component of the package, the claim is not deceptive.
Similarly, it would not be deceptive to label a shopping bag "recycled"
where the bag is made entirely of recycled material but the easily
detachable handle, an incidental component, is not.
(c) Overstatement of Environmental Attribute. An environmental marketing
claim should not be presented in a manner that overstates the
environmental attribute or benefit, expressly or by implication.
Marketers should avoid implications of significant environmental benefits
if the benefit is in fact negligible.
Example 1: A package is labeled, "50% more recycled content than before."
The manufacturer increased the recycled content of its package from 2
percent recycled material to 3 percent recycled material. Although the
claim is technically true, it is likely to convey the false impression
that the advertiser has increased significantly the use of recycled
Example 2: A trash bag is labeled "recyclable" without qualification.
Because trash bags will ordinarily not be separated out from other trash
at the landfill or incinerator for recycling, they are highly unlikely to
be used again for any purpose. Even if the bag is technically capable of
being recycled, the claim is deceptive since it asserts an environmental
benefit where no significant or meaningful benefit exists.
Example 3: A paper grocery sack is labeled "reusable." The sack can be
brought back to the store and reused for carrying groceries but will fall
apart after two or three reuses, on average. Because reasonable consumers
are unlikely to assume that a paper grocery sack is durable, the
unqualified claim does not overstate the environmental benefit conveyed
to consumers. The claim is not deceptive and does not need to be
qualified to indicate the limited reuse of the sack.
(d) Comparative Claims. Environmental marketing claims that include a
comparative statement should be presented in a manner that makes the
basis for the comparison sufficiently clear to avoid consumer deception.
In addition, the advertiser should be able to substantiate the
Example 1: An advertiser notes that its shampoo bottle contains "20% more
recycled content." The claim in its context is ambiguous. Depending on
contextual factors, it could be a comparison either to the advertiser's
immediately preceding product or to a competitor's product. The
advertiser should clarify the claim to make the basis for comparison
clear, for example, by saying "20% more recycled content than our
previous package." Otherwise, the advertiser should be prepared to
substantiate whatever comparison is conveyed to reasonable consumers.
Example 2: An advertiser claims that "our plastic diaper liner has the
most recycled content." The advertised diaper does have more recycled
content, calculated as a percentage of weight, than any other on the
market, although it is still well under 100% recycled. Provided the
recycled content and the comparative difference between the product and
those of competitors are significant and provided the specific comparison
can be substantiated, the claim is not deceptive.
Example 3: An ad claims that the advertiser's packaging creates "less
waste than the leading national brand." The advertiser's source reduction
was implemented sometime ago and is supported by a calculation comparing
the relative solid waste contributions of the two packages. The
advertiser should be able to substantiate that the comparison remains
16 CFR Section 260.7 Environmental marketing claims.
Guidance about the use of environmental marketing claims is
set forth below. Each guide is followed by several examples that
illustrate, but do not provide an exhaustive list of, claims that
do and do not comport with the guides. In each case, the general
principles set forth in @ 260.6 should also be followed. n2
n2 These guides do not address claims based on a "lifecycle" theory of
environmental benefit. Such analyses are still in their infancy and thus
the Commission lacks sufficient information on which to base guidance at
(a) General Environmental Benefit Claims. It is deceptive to
misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product or package
offers a general environmental benefit. Unqualified general claims of
environmental benefit are difficult to interpret, and depending on their
context, may convey a wide range of meanings to consumers. In many cases,
such claims may convey that the product or package has specific and far-
reaching environmental benefits. As explained in the Commission's Ad
Substantiation Statement, every express and material, implied claim that
the general assertion conveys to reasonable consumers about an objective
quality, feature or attribute of a product must be substantiated. Unless
this substantiation duty can be met, broad environmental claims should
either be avoided or qualified, as necessary, to prevent deception about
the specific nature of the environmental benefit being asserted.
Example 1: A brand name like "Eco-Safe" would be deceptive if, in the
context of the product so named, it leads consumers to believe that the
product has environmental benefits which cannot be substantiated by the
manufacturer. The claim would not be deceptive if "Eco-Safe" were
followed by clear and prominent qualifying language limiting the safety
representation to a particular product attribute for which it could be
substantiated, and provided that no other deceptive implications were
created by the context.
Example 2: A product wrapper is printed with the claim "Environmentally
Friendly." Textual comments on the wrapper explain that the wrapper is
"Environmentally Friendly because it was not chlorine bleached, a process
that has been shown to create harmful substances." The wrapper was, in
fact, not bleached with chlorine. However, the production of the wrapper
now creates and releases to the environment significant quantities of
other harmful substances. Since consumers are likely to interpret the
"Environmentally Friendly" claim, in combination with the textual
explanation, to mean that no significant harmful substances are currently
released to the environment, the "Environmentally Friendly" claim would
Example 3: A pump spray product is labeled "environmentally safe." Most
of the product's active ingredients consist of volatile organic compounds
(VOCs) that may cause smog by contributing to ground-level ozone
formation. The claim is deceptive because, absent further qualification,
it is likely to convey to consumers that use of the product will not
result in air pollution or other harm to the environment.
(b) Degradable/Biodegradable/Photodegradable. It is deceptive to
misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product or package is
degradable, biodegradable or photodegradable. An unqualified claim that a
product or package is degradable, biodegradable or photodegradable should
be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence that the
entire product or package will completely break down and return to
nature, i.e., decompose into elements found in nature within reasonable
short period of time after customary disposal. Claims of degradability,
biodegradability or photodegradability should be qualified to the extent
necessary to avoid consumer deception about:
(1) The product or package's ability to degrade in the environment where
it is customarily disposed; and
(2) The rate and extent of degradation.
Example 1: A trash bag is marketed as "degradable," which no
qualification or other disclosure. The marketer relies on soil burial
tests to show that the product will decompose in the presence of water
and oxygen. The trash bags are customarily disposed of in incineration
facilities or at sanitary landfills that are managed in a way that
inhibits degradation by minimizing moisture and oxygen. Degradation will
be irrelevant for those trash bags that are incinerated and, for those
disposed of in landfills, the marketer does not possess adequate
substantiation that the bags will degrade in a reasonably short period of
time in a landfill. The claim is therefore deceptive.
Example 2: A commercial agricultural plastic mulch film is advertised as
"Photodegradable" and qualified with the phrase, "Will break down into
small pieces if left uncovered in sunlight." The claim is supported by
competent and reliable scientific evidence that the product will break
down in a reasonably short period of time after being exposed to sunlight
and into sufficiently small pieces to become part of the soil. The
qualified claim is not deceptive. Because the claim is qualified to
indicate the limited extent of breakdown, the advertiser need not meet
the elements for an unqualified photodegradable claim, i.e., that the
product will not only break down, but also will decompose into elements
found in nature.
Example 3: A soap or shampoo product is advertised as "biodegradeable,"
with no qualification or other disclosure. The manufacturer has competent
and reliable scientific evidence demonstrating that the product, which is
customarily disposed of in sewage systems, will break down and decompose
into elements found in nature in a short period of time. The claim is not
(c) Compostable. It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by
implication, that a product or package is compostable. An unqualified
claim that a product or package is compostable should be substantiated by
reliable scientific evidence that all the materials in the product or
package will break down into, or otherwise become part of, usable compost
(e.g., soil-conditioning material, mulch) in a safe and timely manner in
an appropriate composting program or facility, or in a home compost pile
or device. Claims of compostability should be qualified to the extent
necessary to avoid consumer deception. An unqualified claim may be
(1) If municipal composting facilities are not available to a substantial
majority of consumers or communities where the package is sold;
(2) If the claim misleads consumers about the environmental benefit
provided when the product is disposed of in a landfill; or
(3) If consumers misunderstand the claim to mean that the package can be
safely composted in their home compost pile or device, when in fact it
Example 1: A manufacturer indicates that its unbleached coffee filter is
compostable. The unqualified claim is not deceptive provided the
manufacturer can substantiate that the filter can be converted safely to
usable compost in a timely manner in a home compost pile or device, as
well as in an appropriate composting program or facility.
Example 2: A lawn and leaf bag is labeled as "Compostable in California
Municipal Yard Waste Composting Facilities." The bag contains toxic
ingredients that are released into the compost material as the bag breaks
down. The claim is deceptive if the presence of these toxic ingredients
prevents the compost from being usable.
Example 3: A manufacturer indicates that its paper plate is suitable for
home composting. If the manufacturer possesses substantiation for
claiming that the paper plate can be converted safely to usable compost
in a home compost pile or device, this claim is not deceptive even if no
municipal composting facilities exist.
Example 4: A manufacturer makes an unqualified claim that its package is
compostable. Although municipal composting facilities exist where the
product is sold, the package will not break down into usable compost in a
home compost pile or device. To avoid deception, the manufacturer should
disclose that the package is not suitable for home composting.
Example 5: A nationally marketed lawn and leaf bag is labeled
"compostable." Also printed on the bag is a disclosure that the bag is
not designed for use in home compost piles. The bags are in fact
composted in municipal yard waste composting programs in many communities
around the country, but such programs are not available to a substantial
majority of consumers where the bag is sold. The claim is deceptive since
reasonable consumers living in areas not served by municipal yard waste
programs may understand the reference to mean that composting facilities
accepting the bags are available in their area. To avoid deception, the
claim should be qualified to indicate the limited availability of such
programs, for example, by stating, "Appropriate facilities may not exist
in your area." Other examples of adequate qualification of the claim
include providing the approximate percentage of communities or the
population for which such programs are available.
Example 6: A manufacturer sells a disposable diaper that bears the
legend, "This diaper can be composted where municipal solid waste
composting facilities exist. There are currently [X number of] municipal
solid waste composting facilities across the country." The claim is not
deceptive, assuming that composting facilities are available as claimed
and the manufacturer can substantiate that the diaper can be converted
safely to usable compost in municipal solid waste composting facilities.
Example 7: A manufacturer markets yard waste bags only to consumers
residing in particular geographic areas served by county yard waste
composting programs. The bags meet specifications for these programs and
are labeled, "Compostable Yard Waste Bag for County Composting Programs."
The claim is not deceptive. Because the bags are compostable where they
are sold, no qualification is required to indicate the limited
availability of composting facilities.
(d) Recyclable. It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by
implication, that a product or package is recyclable. A product or
package should not be marketed as recyclable unless it can be collected,
separated or otherwise recovered from the solid waste stream for use in
the form of raw materials, in the manufacture or assembly of a new
package or product. Unqualified claims of recyclability for a product or
package may be made if the entire product or package, excluding minor
incidental components, is recyclable. For products or packages that are
made of both recyclable and non-recyclable components, the recyclable
claim should be adequately qualified to avoid consumer deception about
which portions or components of the product or package are recyclable.
Claims of recyclability should be qualified to the extent necessary to
avoid consumer deception about any limited availability of recycling
programs and collection sites. If an incidental component significantly
limits the ability to recycle the product, the claim would be deceptive.
A product or package that is made from recyclable material, but, because
of its shape, size or some other attribute, is not accepted in recycling
programs for such material, should not be marketed as recyclable.
Example 1: A packaged product is labeled with an unqualified claim,
"recyclable." It is unclear from the type of product and other context
whether the claim refers to the product or its package. The unqualified
claim is likely to convey to reasonable consumers that all of both the
product and its packaging that remain after normal use of the product,
exempt for minor, incidental components, can be recycled. Unless each
such message can be substantiated, the claim should be qualified to
indicate what portions are recyclable.
Example 2: A plastic package is labeled on the bottom with the Society of
the Plastics Industry (SPI) code, consisting of a design of arrows in a
triangular shape containing a number and abbreviation identifying the
component plastic resin. Without more, the use of the SPI symbol (or
similar industry codes) on the bottom of the package, or in a similarly
inconspicuous location, does not constitute a claim of recyclability.
Example 3: A container can be burned in incinerator facilities to produce
heat and power. It cannot, however, be recycled into new products or
packaging. Any claim that the container is recyclable would be deceptive.
Example 4: A nationally marketed bottle bears the unqualified statement
that it is "recyclable." Collection sites for recycling the material in
question are not available to a substantial majority of consumers or
communities, although collection sites are established in a significant
percentage of communities or available to a significant percentage of the
population. The unqualified claim is deceptive since, unless evidence
shows otherwise, reasonable consumers living in communities not served by
programs may conclude that recycling programs for the material are
available in their area. To avoid deception, the claim should be
qualified to indicate the limited availability of programs, for example,
by stating, "Check to see if recycling facilities exist in your area."
Other examples of adequate qualifications of the claim include providing
the approximate percentage of communities or the population to whom
programs are available.
Example 5: A soda bottle is marketed nationally and labeled, "Recyclable
where facilities exist." Recycling programs for material of this type and
size are available in a significant percentage of communities or to a
significant percentage of the population, but are not available to a
substantial majority of consumers. The claim is deceptive since, unless
evidence shows otherwise, reasonable consumers living in communities not
served by programs may understand this phrase to mean that programs are
available in their area. To avoid deception, the claim should be further
qualified to indicate the limited availability of programs, for example,
by using any of the approaches set forth in Example 4 above.
Example 6: A plastic detergent bottle is marketed as follows:
"Recyclable in the few communities with facilities for colored HDPE
bottles." Collection sites for recycling the container have been
established in a half-dozen major metropolitan areas. This disclosure
illustrates one approach to qualifying a claim adequately to prevent
deception about the limited availability of recycling programs where
collection facilities are not established in a significant percentage of
communities or available to a significant percentage of the population.
Other examples of adequate qualification of the claim include providing
the number of communities with programs, or the percentage of communities
or the population to which programs are available.
Example 7: A label claims that the package "includes some recyclable
material." The package is composed of four layers of different materials,
bonded together. One of the layers is made from the recyclable material,
but the others are not. While programs for recycling this type of
material are available to a substantial majority of consumers, only a few
of those programs have the capability to separate out the recyclable
layer. Even though it is technologically possible to separate the layers,
the claim is not adequately qualified to avoid consumer deception. An
appropriately qualified claim would be, "includes material recyclable in
the few communities that collect multi-layer products." Other examples of
adequate qualification of the claim include providing the number of
communities with programs, or the percentage of communities or the
population to which programs are available.
Example 8: A product is marketed as having a "recyclable" container. The
product is distributed and advertised only in Missouri. Collection sites
for recycling the container are available to a substantial majority of
Missouri residents, but are not yet available nationally. Because
programs are generally available where the product is marketed, the
unqualified claim does not deceive consumers about the limited
availability of recycling programs.
(e) Recycled Content. A recycled content claim may be made only for
materials that have been recovered or otherwise diverted from the solid
waste stream, either during the manufacturing process (pre-consumer), or
after consumer use (post-consumer). To the extent the source of recycled
content includes pre-consumer material, the manufacturer or advertiser
must have substantiation for concluding that the pre-consumer material
would otherwise have entered the solid waste stream. In asserting a
recycled content claim, distinctions may be made between pre-consumer and
post-consumer materials. Where such distinctions are asserted, any
express or implied claim about the specific pre-consumer or post-consumer
content of a product or package must be substantiated. It is deceptive to
misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product or package is
made of recycled material. Unqualified claims of recycled content may be
made only if the entire product or package, excluding minor, incidental
components, is made from recycled material. For products or packages that
are only partially made of recycled material, a recycled claim should be
adequately qualified to avoid consumer deception about the amount, by
weight, of recycled content in the finished product or package.
Example 1: A manufacturer routinely collects spilled raw material and
scraps from trimming finished products. After a minimal amount of
reprocessing, the manufacturer combines the spills and scraps with virgin
material for use in further production of the same product. A claim that
the product contains recycled material is deceptive since the spills and
scraps to which the claim refers are normally reused by industry within
the original manufacturing process, and would not normally have entered
the waste stream.
Example 2: A manufacturer purchases material from a firm that collects
discarded material from other manufacturers and resells it. All of the
material was diverted from the solid waste stream and is not normally
reused by industry within the original manufacturing process. The
manufacturer includes the weight of this material in its calculations of
the recycled content of its products. A claim of recycled content based
on this calculation is not deceptive because, absent the purchase and
reuse of this material, it would have entered the waste stream.
Example 3: A greeting card is composed 30% by weight of paper collected
from consumers after use of a paper product, and 20% by weight of paper
that was generated after completion of the paper-making process, diverted
from the solid waste stream, and otherwise would not normally have been
reused in the original manufacturing process. The marketer of the card
may claim either that the product "contains 50% recycled material," or
may identify the specific pre-consumer and/or post-consumer content by
stating, for example, that the product "contains 50% total recycled
material, 30% of which is post-consumer material."
Example 4: A package with 20% recycled content by weight is labeled as
containing "20% recycled paper." Some of the recycled content was
composed of material collected from consumers after use of the original
product. The rest was composed of overrun newspaper stock never sold to
customers. The claim is not deceptive.
Example 5: A product in a multi-component package, such as a paperboard
box in a shrink-wrapped plastic cover, indicates that it has recycled
packaging. The paperboard box is made entirely of recycled material, but
the plastic cover is not. The claim is deceptive since, without
qualification, it suggests that both components are recycled. A claim
limited to the paperboard box would not be deceptive.
Example 6: A package is made from layers of foil, plastic, and paper
laminated together, although the layers are indistinguishable to
consumers. The label claims that "one of the three layers of this package
is made of recycled plastic." The plastic layer is made entirely of
recycled plastic. The claim is not deceptive provided the recycled
plastic layer constitutes a significant component of the entire package.
Example 7: A paper product is labeled as containing "100% recycled
fiber." The claim is not deceptive if the advertiser can substantiate the
conclusion that 100% by weight of the fiber in the finished product is
Example 8: A frozen dinner is marketed in a package composed of a
cardboard box over a plastic tray. The package bears the legend, "package
made from 30% recycled material." Each packaging component amounts to
one-half the weight of the total package. The box is 20% recycled
content by weight, while the plastic tray is 40% recycled content by
weight. The claim is not deceptive, since the average amount of recycled
material is 30%.
Example 9: A paper greeting card is labeled as containing 50% by weight
recycled content. The seller purchases paper stock from several sources
and the amount of recycled material in the stock provided by each source
varies. Because the 50% figure is based on the annual weighted average of
recycled material purchased from the sources after accounting for fiber
loss during the production process, the claim is permissible.
(f) Source Reduction. It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by
implication, that a product or package has been reduced or is lower in
weight, volume or toxicity. Source reduction claims should be qualified
to the extent necessary to avoid consumer deception about the amount of
the source reduction and about the basis for any comparison asserted.
Example 1: An ad claims that solid waste created by disposal of the
advertiser's packaging is "now 10% less than our previous package." The
claim is not deceptive if the advertiser has substantiation that shows
that disposal of the current package contributes 10% less waste by weight
or volume to the solid waste stream when compared with the immediately
preceding version of the package.
Example 2: An advertiser notes that disposal of its product generates
"10% less waste." The claim is ambiguous. Depending on contextual
factors, it could be a comparison either to the immediately preceding
product or to a competitor's product. The "10% less waste" reference is
deceptive unless the seller clarifies which comparison is intended and
substantiates that comparison, or substantiates both possible
interpretations of the claim.
(g) Refillable. It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by
implication, that a package is refillable. An unqualified refillable
claim should not be asserted unless a system is provided for:
(1) The collection and return of the package for refill; or
(2) The later refill of the package by consumers with product
subsequently sold in another package.
A package should not be marketed with an unqualified refillable claim, if
it is up to the consumer to find new ways to refill the package.
Example 1: A container is labeled "refillable x times." The manufacturer
has the capability to refill returned containers and can show that the
container will withstand being refilled at least x times. The
manufacturer, however, has established no collection program. The
unqualified claim is deceptive because there is no means for collection
and return of the container to the manufacturer for refill.
Example 2: A bottle of fabric softener states that it is in a "handy
refillable container." The manufacturer also sells a large-sized
container that indicates that the consumer is expected to use it to
refill the smaller container. The manufacturer sells the large-sized
container in the same market areas where it sells the small container.
The claim is not deceptive because there is a means for consumers to
refill the smaller container from larger containers of the same product.
(h) Ozone Safe and Ozone Friendly. It is deceptive to misrepresent,
directly or by implication, that a product is safe for or "friendly" to
the ozone layer. A claim that a product does not harm the ozone layer is
deceptive if the product contains an ozone-depleting substance.
Example 1: A product is labeled "ozone friendly." The claim is deceptive
if the product contains any ozone-depleting substance, including those
substances listed as Class I or Class II chemicals in title VI of the
Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, Public Law No. 101-549, or others
subsequently designated by EPA as ozone-depleting substances. Class I
chemicals currently listed in title VI are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs),
halons, carbon tetrachloride and 1,1,1-trichloroethane. Class II
chemicals currently listed in title VI are hydrochlorofluorocarbons
Example 2: The seller of an aerosol product makes an unqualified claim
that its product "Contains no CFCs." Although the product does not
contain CFCs, it does contain HCFC-22, another ozone depleting
ingredient. Because the claim "Contains no CFCs" may imply to reasonable
consumers that the product does not harm the ozone layer, the claim is
Example 3: A product is labeled "This product is 95% less damaging to the
ozone layer than past formulations that contained CFCs." The manufacturer
has substituted HCFCs for CFC-12, and can substantiate that this
substitution will result in 95% less ozone depletion. The qualified
comparative claim is not likely to be deceptive.
16 CFR Section 260.8 Environmental assessment.
National Environmental Policy Act. In accordance with @ 1.83 of the FTC's
Procedures and Rules of Practice n3 and @ 1501.3 of the Council on
Environmental Quality's regulations for implementing the procedural
provisions of National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.
(1969), n4 the Commission has prepared an environmental assessment for
purposes of providing sufficient evidence and analysis to determine
whether issuing the Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims
requires preparation of an environmental impact statement or a finding of
no significant impact. After careful study, the Commission concludes that
issuance of the Guides will not have a significant impact on the
environment and that any such impact "would be so uncertain that
environmental analysis would be based on speculation." n5 An
environmental impact statement is therefore not required. This conclusion
is based on the findings in the environmental assessment that issuance of
the guides would have no quantifiable environmental impact because the
guides are voluntary in nature, do not preempt inconsistent state laws,
are based on the FTC's deception policy, and, when used in conjunction
with the Commission's policy of case-by-case enforcement, are intended to
aid compliance with section 5(a) of the FTC Act as that Act applies to
environmental marketing claims. Furthermore, the guides are neither
motivated by nor intended to influence environmental policy decisions.
The guides also do not impose standards on manufacturing or waste
disposal methods. Consumer behavior as a result of the issuance of guides
may change but any such change cannot be quantified, or even reasonably
estimated, since those decisions would be influenced by many other
variables, in addition to advertising claims. Industry response to the
guides, beyond modification of environmental marketing claims, is also
impossible to predict or quantify. The alternatives to Commission guides
described in the environmental assessment, both within and without the
Commission, would also have, at most, only an indirect and highly
speculative impact on the environment.
n3 16 CFR 1.83 (revised as of January 1, 1991).
n4 40 CFR 1501.3 (1991).
n5 16 CFR 1.83(a).
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