To the FTC, dog poop bags are no joke.
The agency is cracking down on manufacturers and marketers of dog waste bags that claim to be “biodegradable,” and “compostable,” among other environmentally “green” attributes.
According to a press release, after the FTC looked at 20 companies’ websites and other marketing channels that cited earth-friendly features, the agency sent out letters stating claims made about biodegradability or compostability are potentially deceptive.
“Consumers looking to buy environmentally friendly products should not have to guess whether the claims made are accurate,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “It is therefore critical for the FTC to ensure that these claims are not misleading, to protect both consumers and honest competitors.”
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The reason these claims are deemed as deceptive is based on how everyday consumers perceive them. The FTC states that people believe the bag will breakdown into “natural components” within a year after throwing away — but that just isn’t the case. According to the agency, people tend to throw these bags in trash cans, which make their way to landfills. Once in a big dump, these bags will definitely not biodegrade in a year, if ever.
The other option for consumers is to put these bags in a compost pile, but the issue with that is the bags will not safely breakdown in at-home compost piles and commercial or municipal facilities often don’t accept these bags, according to the release.
In the letters, the FTC provides information on how to “comply with truth-in-advertising principles when making environmental claims.” The agency wants the companies to review these claims made on their marketing materials and either revise or remove them, or explain why they feel they don’t need to make changes.
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Featured image from Flickr/Andrew Catellier