Warning letters were sent out by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to 15 marketers of "oxodegradable" plastic waste bags that their "oxodegradable, oxo biodegradable or biodegradable claims may be deceptive."
Oxodegradable plastic is made with an additive intended to cause it to degrade in the presence of oxygen, however, most waste bags are intended to be deposited in landfills, where not enough oxygen likely exists for the oxodegradable bags to completely degrade in the time consumers expect. "Contrary to the marketing, therefore, these bags may be no more biodegradable than ordinary plastic waste bags when used as intended," notes the FTC (www.ftc.gov).
"If marketers don't have reliable scientific evidence for their claims, they shouldn't make them," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "Claims that products are environmentally friendly influence buyers, so it's important they be accurate."
The FTC advised the marketers that consumers understand the terms "oxodegradable or "oxo biodegradable" claims to mean the same thing as biodegradable.