§ 260.16 Renewable materials claims.
(a) It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product or package is made with renewable materials.
(b) Research suggests that reasonable consumers may interpret renewable materials claims differently than marketers may intend. Unless marketers have substantiation for all their express and reasonably implied claims, they should clearly and prominently qualify their renewable materials claims. For example, marketers may minimize the risk of unintended implied claims by identifying the material used and explaining why the material is renewable.
(c) Marketers should also qualify any “made with renewable materials” claim unless the product or package (excluding minor, incidental components) is made entirely with renewable materials.
A marketer makes the unqualified claim that its flooring is “made with renewable materials.” Reasonable consumers likely interpret this claim to mean that the flooring also is made with recycled content, recyclable, and biodegradable. Unless the marketer has substantiation for these implied claims, the unqualified “made with renewable materials” claim is deceptive. The marketer could qualify the claim by stating, clearly and prominently, “Our flooring is made from 100 percent bamboo, which grows at the same rate, or faster, than we use it.” The marketer still is responsible for substantiating all remaining express and reasonably implied claims.
A marketer's packaging states that “Our packaging is made from 50% plant-based renewable materials. Because we turn fast-growing plants into bio-plastics, only half of our product is made from petroleum-based materials.” By identifying the material used and explaining why the material is renewable, the marketer has minimized the risk of unintended claims that the product is made with recycled content, recyclable, and biodegradable. The marketer has adequately qualified the amount of renewable materials in the product.