entire product or package, excluding minor, incidental components, is made from recycled material; (3) making the product with recycled materials makes the
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1PART 260Œ GUIDES FOR THE USE OF ENVIRONMENTAL MARKETING CLAIMSSec. 260.1 Purpose, Scope, and Structure of the Guides.260.2 Interpretation and Substantiation of Environmental Marketing Claims. 260.3 General Principles.260.4 General Environmental Benefit Claims.260.5 Carbon Offsets.260.6 Certifications and Seals of Approval.260.7 Compostable Claims.260.8 Degradable Claims. 260.9 Free-Of Claims.260.10 Non-Toxic Claims. 260.11 Ozone-Safe and Ozone-Friendly Claims.260.12 Recyclable Claims.260.13 Recycled Content Claims.260.14 Refillable Claims.260.15 Renewable Energy Claims.260.16 Renewable Materials Claims. 260.17 Source Reduction Claims.Authority: 15 U.S.C. 41-58.§ 260.1 Purpose, Scope, and Structure of the Guides.(a) These guides set forth the Federal Trade Commission™s current views aboutenvironmental claims. The guides help marketers avoid making environmental marketing claimsthat are unfair or deceptive under Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45. They do not confer

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2any rights on any person and do not operate to bind the FTC or the public. The Commission,however, can take action under the FTC Act if a marketer makes an environmental claiminconsistent with the guides. In any such enforcement action, the Commission must prove thatthe challenged act or practice is unfair or deceptive in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.(b) These guides do not preempt federal, state, or local laws. Compliance with those laws,however, will not necessarily preclude Commission law enforcement action under the FTC Act.(c) These guides apply to claims about the environmental attributes of a product, package, orservice in connection with the marketing, offering for sale, or sale of such item or service toindividuals. These guides also apply to business-to-business transactions. The guides apply toenvironmental claims in labeling, advertising, promotional materials, and all other forms ofmarketing in any medium, whether asserted directly or by implication, through words, symbols,logos, depictions, product brand names, or any other means.(d) The guides consist of general principles, specific guidance on the use of particularenvironmental claims, and examples. Claims may raise issues that are addressed by more thanone example and in more than one section of the guides. The examples provide theCommission™s views on how reasonable consumers likely interpret certain claims. The guidesare based on marketing to a general audience. However, when a marketer targets a particularsegment of consumers, the Commission will examine how reasonable members of that groupinterpret the advertisement. Whether a particular claim is deceptive will depend on the netimpression of the advertisement, label, or other promotional material at issue. In addition,although many examples present specific claims and options for qualifying claims, the examplesdo not illustrate all permissible claims or qualifications under Section 5 of the FTC Act. Nor dothey illustrate the only ways to comply with the guides. Marketers can use an alternative

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3approach if the approach satisfies the requirements of Section 5 of the FTC Act. All examplesassume that the described claims otherwise comply with Section 5. Where particularly useful,the Guides incorporate a reminder to this effect.§ 260.2 Interpretation and Substantiation of Environmental Marketing Claims.Section 5 of the FTC Act prohibits deceptive acts and practices in or affecting commerce. A representation, omission, or practice is deceptive if it is likely to mislead consumers actingreasonably under the circumstances and is material to consumers™ decisions. See FTC PolicyStatement on Deception, 103 FTC 174 (1983). To determine if an advertisement is deceptive,marketers must identify all express and implied claims that the advertisement reasonablyconveys. Marketers must ensure that all reasonable interpretations of their claims are truthful,not misleading, and supported by a reasonable basis before they make the claims. See FTCPolicy Statement Regarding Advertising Substantiation, 104 FTC 839 (1984). In the context ofenvironmental marketing claims, a reasonable basis often requires competent and reliablescientific evidence. Such evidence consists of tests, analyses, research, or studies that have beenconducted and evaluated in an objective manner by qualified persons and are generally acceptedin the profession to yield accurate and reliable results. Such evidence should be sufficient inquality and quantity based on standards generally accepted in the relevant scientific fields, whenconsidered in light of the entire body of relevant and reliable scientific evidence, to substantiatethat each of the marketing claims is true.§ 260.3 General Principles.The following general principles apply to all environmental marketing claims, includingthose described in §§ 260.4 – 16. Claims should comport with all relevant provisions of theseguides.

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4(a) Qualifications and disclosures: To prevent deceptive claims, qualifications anddisclosures should be clear, prominent, and understandable. To make disclosures clear andprominent, marketers should use plain language and sufficiently large type, should placedisclosures in close proximity to the qualified claim, and should avoid making inconsistentstatements or using distracting elements that could undercut or contradict the disclosure.(b) Distinction between benefits of product, package, and service: Unless it is clear fromthe context, an environmental marketing claim should specify whether it refers to the product,the product™s packaging, a service, or just to a portion of the product, package, or service. Ingeneral, if the environmental attribute applies to all but minor, incidental components of aproduct or package, the marketer need not qualify the claim to identify that fact. However, theremay be exceptions to this general principle. For example, if a marketer makes an unqualifiedrecyclable claim, and the presence of the incidental component significantly limits the ability torecycle the product, the claim would be deceptive.Example 1: A plastic package containing a new shower curtain is labeled firecyclableflwithout further elaboration. Because the context of the claim does not make clearwhether it refers to the plastic package or the shower curtain, the claim is deceptive if anypart of either the package or the curtain, other than minor, incidental components, cannotbe recycled.Example 2: A soft drink bottle is labeled firecycled.fl The bottle is made entirely fromrecycled materials, but the bottle cap is not. Because the bottle cap is a minor, incidentalcomponent of the package, the claim is not deceptive.

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5(c) Overstatement of environmental attribute: An environmental marketing claim shouldnot overstate, directly or by implication, an environmental attribute or benefit. Marketers shouldnot state or imply environmental benefits if the benefits are negligible. Example 1: An area rug is labeled fi50% more recycled content than before.fl Themanufacturer increased the recycled content of its rug from 2% recycled fiber to 3%. Although the claim is technically true, it likely conveys the false impression that themanufacturer has increased significantly the use of recycled fiber.Example 2: A trash bag is labeled firecyclablefl without qualification. Because trashbags ordinarily are not separated from other trash at the landfill or incinerator forrecycling, they are highly unlikely to be used again for any purpose. Even if the bag istechnically capable of being recycled, the claim is deceptive since it asserts anenvironmental benefit where no meaningful benefit exists.(d) Comparative claims: Comparative environmental marketing claims should be clear toavoid consumer confusion about the comparison. Marketers should have substantiation for thecomparison.Example 1: An advertiser notes that its glass bathroom tiles contain fi20% morerecycled content.fl Depending on the context, the claim could be a comparison either tothe advertiser™s immediately preceding product or to its competitors™ products. Theadvertiser should have substantiation for both interpretations. Otherwise, the advertisershould make the basis for comparison clear, for example, by saying fi20% more recycledcontent than our previous bathroom tiles.fl Example 2: An advertiser claims that fiour plastic diaper liner has the most recycledcontent.fl The diaper liner has more recycled content, calculated as a percentage of

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6weight, than any other on the market, although it is still well under 100%. The claimlikely conveys that the product contains a significant percentage of recycled content andhas significantly more recycled content than its competitors. If the advertiser cannotsubstantiate these messages, the claim would be deceptive.Example 3: An advertiser claims that its packaging creates filess waste than the leadingnational brand.fl The advertiser implemented the source reduction several years ago andsupported the claim by calculating the relative solid waste contributions of the twopackages. The advertiser should have substantiation that the comparison remainsaccurate.Example 4: A product is advertised as fienvironmentally preferable.fl This claim likely conveys that the product is environmentally superior to other products. Because it ishighly unlikely that the marketer can substantiate the messages conveyed by thisstatement, this claim is deceptive. The claim would not be deceptive if the marketeraccompanied it with clear and prominent language limiting the environmental superiorityrepresentation to the particular attributes for which the marketer has substantiation,provided the advertisement™s context does not imply other deceptive claims. Forexample, the claim fiEnvironmentally preferable: contains 50% recycled contentcompared to 20% for the leading brandfl would not be deceptive.§ 260.4 General Environmental Benefit Claims.(a) It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product, package, orservice offers a general environmental benefit. (b) Unqualified general environmental benefit claims are difficult to interpret and likelyconvey a wide range of meanings. In many cases, such claims likely convey that the product,

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8more environmentally beneficial overall; and (4) the advertisement™s context does notimply other deceptive claims.Example 2: A marketer states that its packaging is now fiGreener than our previouspackaging.fl The packaging weighs 15% less than previous packaging, but it is notrecyclable nor has it been improved in any other material respect. The claim is deceptivebecause reasonable consumers likely would interpret fiGreenerfl in this context to meanthat other significant environmental aspects of the packaging also are improved overprevious packaging. A claim stating fiGreener than our previous packagingflaccompanied by clear and prominent language such as, fiWe™ve reduced the weight of ourpackaging by 15%,fl would not be deceptive, provided that reducing the packaging™sweight makes the product more environmentally beneficial overall and theadvertisement™s context does not imply other deceptive claims.Example 3: A marketer™s advertisement features a picture of a laser printer in a bird™snest balancing on a tree branch, surrounded by a dense forest. In green type, themarketer states, fiBuy our printer. Make a change.fl Although the advertisement does notexpressly claim that the product has environmental benefits, the featured images, incombination with the text, likely convey that the product has far-reaching environmentalbenefits and may convey that the product has no negative environmental impact. Because it is highly unlikely that the marketer can substantiate these claims, thisadvertisement is deceptive.Example 4: A manufacturer™s website states, fiEco-smart gas-powered lawn mower withimproved fuel efficiency!fl The manufacturer increased the fuel efficiency by 1/10 of apercent. Although the manufacturer™s claim that it has improved its fuel efficiency

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9technically is true, it likely conveys the false impression that the manufacturer hassignificantly increased the mower™s fuel efficiency.Example 5: A marketer reduces the weight of its plastic beverage bottles. The bottles™labels state: fiEnvironmentally-friendly improvement. 25% less plastic than our previouspackaging.fl The plastic bottles are 25 percent lighter but otherwise are no different. Theadvertisement conveys that the bottles are more environmentally beneficial overallbecause of the source reduction. To substantiate this claim, the marketer likely cananalyze the impacts of the source reduction without evaluating environmental impactsthroughout the packaging™s life cycle. If, however, manufacturing the new bottlessignificantly alters environmental attributes earlier or later in the bottles™ life cycle, i.e.,manufacturing the bottles requires more energy or a different kind of plastic, then a morecomprehensive analysis may be appropriate.§ 260.5 Carbon Offsets.(a) Given the complexities of carbon offsets, sellers should employ competent and reliablescientific and accounting methods to properly quantify claimed emission reductionsand to ensure that they do not sell the same reduction more than one time. (b) It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a carbon offset representsemission reductions that have already occurred or will occur in the immediate future. To avoiddeception, marketers should clearly and prominently disclose if the carbon offset representsemission reductions that will not occur for two years or longer.(c) It is deceptive to claim, directly or by implication, that a carbon offset represents anemission reduction if the reduction, or the activity that caused the reduction, was required bylaw.

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The examples in this section assume that the certifiers™ endorsements meet the criteria1provided in the Expert Endorsements (255.3) and Endorsements by Organizations (255.4)sections of the Endorsement Guides.10Example 1: On its website, an online travel agency invites consumers to purchaseoffsets to fineutralize the carbon emissions from your flight.fl The proceeds from theoffset sales fund future projects that will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions for twoyears. The claim likely conveys that the emission reductions either already haveoccurred or will occur in the near future. Therefore, the advertisement is deceptive. Itwould not be deceptive if the agency™s website stated fiOffset the carbon emissions fromyour flight by funding new projects that will begin reducing emissions in two years.flExample 2: An offset provider claims that its product fiwill offset your own ‚dirty™driving habits.fl The offset is based on methane capture at a landfill facility. State lawrequires this facility to capture all methane emitted from the landfill. The claim isdeceptive because the emission reduction would have occurred regardless of whetherconsumers purchased the offsets.§ 260.6 Certifications and Seals of Approval.(a) It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product, package, orservice has been endorsed or certified by an independent third party.(b) A marketer™s use of the name, logo, or seal of approval of a third-party certifier ororganization may be an endorsement, which should meet the criteria for endorsements providedin the FTC™s Endorsement Guides, 16 C.F.R. Part 255, including Definitions (§ 255.0), GeneralConsiderations (§ 255.1), Expert Endorsements (§ 255.3), Endorsements by Organizations(§ 255.4), and Disclosure of Material Connections (§ 255.5).1

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11(c) Third-party certification does not eliminate a marketer™s obligation to ensure that it hassubstantiation for all claims reasonably communicated by the certification. (d) A marketer™s use of an environmental certification or seal of approval likely conveys thatthe product offers a general environmental benefit (see § 260.4) if the certification or seal doesnot convey the basis for the certification or seal, either through the name or some other means. Because it is highly unlikely that marketers can substantiate general environmental benefitclaims, marketers should not use environmental certifications or seals that do not convey thebasis for the certification.(e) Marketers can qualify general environmental benefit claims conveyed by environmentalcertifications and seals of approval to prevent deception about the nature of the environmentalbenefit being asserted. To avoid deception, marketers should use clear and prominent qualifyinglanguage that clearly conveys that the certification or seal refers only to specific and limitedbenefits.Example 1: An advertisement for paint features a fiGreenLogofl seal and the statementfiGreenLogo for Environmental Excellence.fl This advertisement likely conveys that: (1) the GreenLogo seal is awarded by an independent, third-party certifier withappropriate expertise in evaluating the environmental attributes of paint; and (2) theproduct has far-reaching environmental benefits. If the paint manufacturer awarded theseal to its own product, and no independent, third-party certifier objectively evaluated thepaint using independent standards, the claim would be deceptive. The claim would notbe deceptive if the marketer accompanied the seal with clear and prominent language: (1) indicating that the marketer awarded the GreenLogo seal to its own product; and (2)clearly conveying that the award refers only to specific and limited benefits.

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