“Green” lumber claims require sturdy support
People often rely on advertising to provide information about products. So regardless of the pitch, it’s critical that the information be accurate.
American Plastic Lumber (APL) advertised its plastic lumber products — including picnic tables, benches and trash cans — as being made almost completely of recycled plastic from items consumers already used, like milk jugs or detergent bottles. According to the FTC’s settlement with APL, the company’s claims that its lumber was made from plastic that consumers had used were false. The company touted its plastic lumber as “the environmentally responsible solution to all of your lumber needs,” because it was “made from recycled plastic milk jugs.” But the FTC said some of APL’s products contained no post-consumer recycled content at all.
Recycled products are made from materials that are taken from the “waste stream,” melted down or ground into raw material and used to make new products. If a product says it’s made from recycled materials, look for specifics. Do the claims apply to the product, the packaging, or both? How much of the product or package is recycled? Read more about other green marketing claims, like “non-toxic” or “biodegradable,” and tips on what to look for when you’re shopping green.