FTC Taking Action Against Untruthful “Green” Claims

More and more we are beginning to see products use trendy phrases like “biodegradable” to market their products as being environmentally friendly.  Kmart, Tender and Dyna-E are a few companies that used this term on labels of their products and are facing legal action from the FTC.  Kmart’s brand American Fare stated that it’s disposable plates were biodegradable, Tender said it’s moist wipes were biodegradable and Dyna-E called it’s Lightload brand of dry towels biodegradable.  Kmart and Tender have already settled outside of court, while Dyna-E will have a lawsuit filed against them.

This is a new effort by the FTC to make sure that any environmental claims are completely truthful and not at all misleading to us as consumers.  Many companies can get away with putting “biodegradable” on the label because there is only the guideline that it decompose in a short period of time.  Research must be done to prove that this is in fact true.  The FTC determined that none of the products described above decomposed in landfills in a reasonable amount of time, thus taking action against the false claims they were making.  James A. Kohm, Associate Director of the Enforcement Division in the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, gave the following testimony in front of Congress over these deceptive claims:

To achieve this goal in the environmental arena, the FTC issues rules and guides for businesses, publishes materials to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions, and challenges fraudulent and deceptive advertising through law enforcement actions, such as the three biodegradability cases announced today.

It’s refreshing to see that companies are being held responsible for any false claims that they are making on their labels.  It’s so easy to say that a product is “green” but to put research in to make sure that it is in fact the case will make sure that consumers are buying the product that is advertised.  Let’s hope that this sends a message to companies trying to take advantage of the green movement just to make a larger profit.

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  1. We agree. Companies making false claims for being green, biodegradable, or compostable, is hurting environmental efforts. Putting something in a green bottle doesn’t make it green. Having a bright green label doesn’t make it environmentally friendly. If a company has a product that they claim is “green,” then they should provide information to backup their environmental claims.


  2. I agree that it’s great that these companies are being held accountable. It seems like everyone is hopping on this ‘green’ bandwagon to help with their bottom line without giving a damn about the environment. This is nice to see

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