Environmental claims are attractive to marketers because they are attractive to consumers. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued guidance—the Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, or Green Guides—to help industry assess what consumers will understand about various “green” claims. Among the most important claims is whether a product is “recyclable,” and determining when an unqualified claim of recyclability can be made is based in large part on the availability of recycling to consumers. The more broadly consumers in the sales area will have access to recycling, the stronger a marketer’s claim of recyclability can be. Less access means that a marketer must qualify its claim, which also (necessarily) reduces its impact.  Because the term “recyclable” is so important to marketers, and because its use is predicated on showing consumer access to recycling facilities, studies demonstrating the availability of recycling are critical substantiation tools in the field of green claims.  Similarly, substantiation requirements for other claims, like non-toxic, renewable, degradable and the like, often require a specific understanding of relevant standards, with the overlay of assessing implications from a consumer perception standpoint. 

Keller and Heckman partner Sheila Millar will address recyclable and other green claims at this week’s FPI Spring 2016 Conference during a panel session on “Environmental Marketing Claims and Foodservice Packaging.” The panel will also discuss results of a new “availability of recycling programs” study and what it means for the foodservice packaging industry. Established in 1933, the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) is the trade association for the foodservice packaging industry in North America. FPI’s members include raw material and machinery suppliers, packaging converters, foodservice distributors and operators/retailers. The conference is being held in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.