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Kmart, Tender and Dyna-E Charged with Making False Biodegradable Claims

The Federal Trade Commission has charged three companies with making false and unsubstantiated claims about the biodegradability of plates, moist wipes and towels. Fresh Bath wipes

Two of the companies, Kmart and Tender, have agreed to settle the cases and no longer make claims about biodegradability without reliable evidence backing them up, and the third company, Dyna-E, is taking its case to litigation. Tender also must disclose whether its biodegradable claims applies to its products, packaging or both.

At issue is the use of the word biodegradable. The word is seen prominently on the front of packaging for Kmart's American Fare disposable plates, Tender's Fresh Bath moist wipes and Dyna-E's Lightload compressed towels.

While the products may actually biodegrade in certain conditions, the FTC said the claims are misleading since they do not follow the recommendations in the FTC's Green Guides, which say claims of biodegradability should only be used if there is scientific evidence showing the product will completely decompose in a reasonably short period of time under normal disposal methods.
Dyna-E Lightload towels
Since the products in question are typically throw in the trash and end up in landfills or incinerators, they would not biodegrade in a reasonably short period of time.

The FTC's Green Guides advise companies on what green marketing claims are and are not acceptable, and in what circumstance they can be false or misleading, in an effort to make sure environmental marketing is truthful, substantiated and not confusing to consumers.

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