The British Plastics Federation has just published a document on the topic of green claims for plastics. Given that plastic materials are among those on which we most frequently observe inappropriate environmental claims, this is a document which, while maybe not perfect, is highly recommended to those responsible for green claims on plastics in Canada.
Among the many valuable pieces of advice in this 15 page document are:
- Products which are marketed as “biodegradable”, “compostable”, “home compostable” or “recyclable” in accordance with a particular standard shall only be made where conformity to the relevant standard can be demonstrated and certification achieved. A written report should be available. Claims that may mislead consumers such as, ‘compliant with BS EN 13432’ must not be used.
- Marketing communications and promotional literature should be truthful, accurate and able to be substantiated. Where possible, the use of third party certification to relevant national & international labeling and standards is recommended.
- Consumers should be able to access information to make informed purchases with ease. Technical data should be accessible and presented in clear language. Claims that rely on confidential information for their verification should be avoided.
- Making false or inaccurate claims is not only poor business practice but is also illegal and actionable. Such actions are more likely to result in the loss of your reputation and civil or criminal action than they are to produce profitable business.
- Environmental claims must not imply that they are universally accepted if there is a significant division of informed or scientific opinion.
- The use of “green” imagery, such as featuring trees, vegetation or the colour green should be used with great care and be consistent with the environmental performance of the product.
- Claims that a product or package is ‘bio-based’ shall be qualified if the product or package is not made entirely from biomass.
- Claims that a product is compostable in a municipal composting facility may need to be qualified if such facilities are not available to a reasonable proportion of consumers. General statements such as “compostable where facilities exist” shall be avoided.
The complete document is available at http://www.bpf.co.uk/Industry/Green_Claims.aspx