How Do the New FTC Guidelines on Renewable Materials Affect Plastics and Greenwashing?

New Greenwash guidelines are being reviewed and updated within the next 60 days by the FTC. Renewable aspects are being added for the first time into the guidelines. For a summary of the revision proposals, please see http://www.ftc.gov/os/2010/10/101006greenguidesproposal.pdf. These guidelines provide an opportunity to make sure that beyond just making product claims, we can educate consumers to a more sustainable culture of reducing, reusing and recycling our produced materials. The proposed additional guideline information in this area is:

Made with Renewable Materials
• Marketers should qualify claims with specific information about the renewable material (what it is; how it is sourced; why it is renewable).
• Additionally, marketers should qualify renewable materials claims if the item is not made entirely with renewable materials (excluding minor, incidental components).

Here is a great example of where producers of plastic products will be able to take advantage of their green claims, if they take it the extra step and clearly document their greenness per the guidelines, they can clearly distinguish themselves from their competition.

Let’s break it down on how the plastic product producers can educate and distinguish themselves to the consumer through these guidelines:
– What it is – tell how virgin plastics are produced and then why using more recycled content saves energy and reduces dependencies on foreign oil.
– How it is sourced – again, foreign oil dependencies and risks can help consumers decide why they would support a particular producer and help make America safer
– Why it is renewable – in addition to the previous evidence, the producer can now point out how recycling creates more American jobs, by supporting recycling centers and reducing shipping costs for the recycled materials versus producing the virgin materials.

With this addition to the guidelines, the FTC has provided a golden opportunity for the savvy producers on communicating a unique advantage for their products over their competition, while helping all of us be more sustainable.

We welcome any other topics you wish to see or your comments on our posts.

Need more information? Envision Plastics Vice President, Tamsin Ettefagh will be happy to discuss your comments or concerns in greater depth. Contact her at 336/342-4749 Ext 225.

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