Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageFTC warns manufacturers not to stretch the truth on plastic bags

By Michael Thomas     Oct 21, 2014 in Environment
If you've seen the term "oxodegradable" on your plastic bag and assume it will quickly decompose, think again. The Federal Trade commission says that these claims are often deceptive.
As landfills become more and more taxed by an influx of plastic shopping bags — at least 3.5 million tons of bags and plastic wrap were discarded in 2008 — plastic bag manufacturers have been rolling out "oxodegradable" or "oxo-biodegradable" plastic bags.
Put simply, these bags, when exposed to enough oxygen, will degrade much quicker than their traditional counterparts, which take a staggering 1,000 years to degrade completely.
However, as the FTC has recently said, many bags that claim to be oxodegradable may not be all that eco-friendly. The commission is warning manufacturers not to call bags oxodegradable unless it can be proven in real-world settings.
The main problem with the oxodegradable claim is that most plastic bags end up heading to landfills, and landfills don't have enough oxygen to allow the bags to degrade.
"Contrary to the marketing, therefore, these bags may be no more biodegradable than ordinary plastic waste bags," the FTC said in a statement.
In 2012 the FTC revised its Guides For the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, which clarified that untested "biodegradable" claims can be deceptive. The commission also sent letters to 15 bag manufacturers to let them know that "oxodegradble," "oxo-biodegradable" and "biodegradable" are synonymous.
Earlier this month, California became the first state to outlaw plastic bags.
More about federal trad, FTC, Plastic bags, oxodegradable plastic, oxobiodegradable
More news from