States, EPA want tougher green marketing guides for plastics

State attorneys general and the Environmental Protection Agency are pressing the Federal Trade Commission to regulate plastics environmental claims more tightly, calling some uses of the resin code with chasing arrows "problematic" and requiring more proof of the green bona fides of chemical recycling.

Lawyers for both the Connecticut and California attorneys general, part of a coalition of 15 states, told a May 23 FTC hearing in Washington that the agency should tighten recyclability claims.

Similarly, an EPA official testified in favor of a higher bar for such marketing, such as requiring that plastics and other materials have strong recycling end markets to make green claims.

The FTC held the fact-finding hearing as part of a review of its own environmental marketing rules, known as the Green Guides, that it launched in December. Concerns over plastics grabbed a lot of attention.

"I think where the rubber hits the road is plastic packaging of all kinds, bags and every kind of film," said Raissa Lerner, a California deputy attorney general. "That's where people are deeply confused, and where marketing labels are taking advantage of that confusion to hit people's feel-good button and basically continue to, directly or indirectly, promote wish cycling.

"Promoting wish cycling takes consumers focus off of the need to reduce plastic production, if we're ever going to get a handle on the plastic pollution problem," she told the hearing.

FTC attorneys at the hearing asked if they should turn the guides into more formal regulations.

» Publication Date: 24/05/2023

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