Given the increased consumer interest in “going green” and using environmentally friendly products, it is not surprising to see more and more claims being made in advertising. However, businesses should know that the FTC has rules that specifically address environmental claims.
“It’s deceptive to misrepresent – directly or indirectly – that a product offers a general environmental benefit. Your ads should qualify broad environmental claims – or avoid them altogether – to prevent deception about the specific nature of the benefit. In addition, your ads shouldn’t imply significant environmental benefits if the benefit isn’t significant. Say a trash bag is labeled “recyclable” without qualification. Because trash bags ordinarily are not separated from other trash for recycling at a landfill or incinerator, it is unlikely that they will be used again. Technically, the bag may be “recyclable,” but the claim is deceptive because it asserts an environmental benefit where there is no significant or meaningful benefit.”