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FTC to Hold Forum on Green Packaging

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is hosting a public workshop to examine developments in green packaging claims and the consumer perception of those claims.  The workshop is part of the agency’s regulatory review of the “Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims,” commonly known as the Green Guides.

The workshop and the results of the discussion from the event will be of great interest to those following field of green/sustainable packaging.  Since the Green Guides were last revised in 1998 there has been exponential growth in the use of green claims relating to packaging.

The FTC recognizes sellers and marketers frequently use terms addressed in the Green Guides, such as “recyclable, recycled content, biodegradable, degradable, compostable, or refillable,” to claim their packaging is green.  Companies are also now using terms like “sustainable,” and “renewable,” which are not even contained in the Green Guides.

The FTC is the federal regulatory body responsible for oversight of claims companies use to sell products and resulting issues of consumer perception.

The workshop will also examine the increase in third-party certification programs purporting to verify the positive environmental impact of product packaging.  Major verification programs used in packaging currently include FSC and SFI both dealing with paper/wood usage.

The FTC’s Green Guides and Packaging workshop is scheduled for April 30, 2008 in Washington, DC.

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