‘Green’ lumber claims must stack up
When spring finally comes, you may want to spruce up your outdoor space with new furniture, fences or even a deck. And chances are you’ll rely on advertising for solid information about the products you’re going to buy.
The Federal Trade Commission recently settled allegations that N.E.W. Plastics Corp. made deceptive environmental benefit claims for its plastic lumber products. According to the FTC, N.E.W. Plastics exaggerated how much recycled plastic it used in some products, and falsely claimed all its products could be recycled. The proposed settlement prohibits the company from making deceptive green claims for any product or package, and requires it to tell distributors to stop using allegedly deceptive promotional materials that had already been distributed.
By the way, when a company uses the terms recycled and recyclable in an ad, here’s what those terms mean: A recycled product is made from content that was kept out of, recovered from, or separated from the trash, either during the manufacturing process or after people have used it. A product that’s recyclable can be separated from the trash through a recycling program and be used again or made into a new product. But even if a product is recyclable, not every community recycles it.
A company must be able to substantiate its claims. Else, it may be facing the FTC.