American Cleaning Institute urges FTC to clarify guidance on environmental marketing claims to help consumers make informed purchases; ACI recommends guidance on claims such as compostable, degradable, non-toxic, natural, organic, sustainable, bio-based

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April 25, 2023 (press release) –

  • ACI Submits Comments to FTC on Key Environmental Claims

The American Cleaning Institute (ACI) urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to bring greater clarity on its enforcement of environmental marketing claims which will allow “consumers to make better informed purchasing decisions” going forward.

In comments submitted to the FTC on proposed revisions to the agency’s Guides for the Use of Environmental Marking Claims (“Green Guides”), ACI called for “more frequent opportunities for revisions to the Guides and more cross-agency collaboration to align the Guides with existing regulatory requirements.”

“ACI believes that there is a continuing need for the Guides, and now more than ever, a need for clearer and stronger guidance than the current Guides offer. Some examples of existing claims that need additional guidance include compostable, degradable, free-of, non-toxic, recyclable and recycled content. ACI ... notes that the vague nature of the current definitions convolutes the flow of truthful information to consumers and increases the potential for deceptive information to reach consumers. In addition to enhancing existing guidance, ACI recommends that the Commission also provide guidance on claims such as natural, organic, sustainable, biobased, regenerative and circular.”

“Consumers and manufacturers alike are looking for clarity on terminology that’s too often confusing,” said Darius Stanton, ACI Director, Regulatory Science. “We’re hopeful that the next iteration of the Green Guides can really help all of us make better sense of environmental marketing claims.”

ACI also argues that there needs to greater clarity on governance of claims related to a product’s degradability or biodegradation, “given that that state restrictions on degradable claims severely limit the use of such claims to advertise the benefits of members’ products.”

Noted ACI’s Stanton in the comments: “California essentially prohibits degradable claims on consumer products. ACI requests that the FTC revise its guidance to acknowledge the importance of being able to provide truthful information to consumers. Consumers are increasingly concerned with their environmental footprint and want to know the environmental impact of discarding products. Prohibiting marketers from truthfully advertising products as 'degradable' ultimately harms customers who want to purchase such products.”

Read the association’s complete comments here.

The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI – is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $60 billion U.S. cleaning product supply chain. ACI members include the manufacturers and formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and chemical distributors.  ACI serves the growth and innovation of the U.S. cleaning products industry by advancing the health and quality of life of people and protecting our planet. ACI achieves this through a continuous commitment to sound science and being a credible voice for the cleaning products industry.

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Dan Rivard
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