Photo of Sheila MillarPhoto of Anushka N. Rahman

On May 23, 2023, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a public workshop to examine recyclable claims as part of its review of the Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (Green Guides). The workshop was split into three panels, discussing current trends, consumer perception, and potential updates to the Commission’s current guidance on recyclable claims.

While recyclable claims for aluminum, paper, glass, and plastics were all discussed during the workshop, the bulk of the discussion focused on the recycling of plastic waste. Panelists addressed several topics, including the following:

  • Should the “substantial majority” basis for an unqualified recyclable claim be changed?
  • Should ability to be recycled or actual reprocessing be considered?
  • Should the Green Guides recognize advanced recycling technologies for plastics?
  • What is the role of the resin identification code (RIC)?
  • Should the FTC engage in a rulemaking to create federal requirements for recyclable claims?

It remains to be seen if information from the workshop will result in changes to the Green Guides or if the FTC elects to initiate a rulemaking to make the Guides binding, but the latter seems unlikely. We provide more details regarding topics discussed during the workshop here.