Facts vs. Claims: Truth in the Recycling Industry

As I’m sure you’ve seen, increased competition has caused some manufacturers to develop more and more advertisements and labels for their products using claims of being “environmentally friendly,” “green,” “eco-friendly,” and other similar terms. While most claims are true, often some are not.  With a growing mix of both accurate and less than clear claims, it can be difficult to identify the best and truly sustainable products.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) developed a Green Guide to help consumers better understand environmental claims when used for marketing purposes. While the guide breaks down many different aspects of environmental marking claims, I’d like to highlight two often misunderstood terms:

  • Recyclable: As the FTC explains, a product or package should only be marked as recyclable when it can be physically collected for reuse, including in the reuse of manufacturing purposes, by an established recycling program in the area.
  • Recycled content: A product labeled to include recycled content is only accurate if the product is made out of materials collected from during the manufacturing process, or materials collected after the product has been used.

Through our work with the Bag-2-Bag Program, our plastic bags are recyclable and can be used to create recycled content. As my colleague Mark Daniels highlighted in a post last year, the average amount of recycled content included in all Hilex products reached 30 percent! Thanks to our many partners, plastic bags, wraps and film are collected for recycling in our program. Once the plastic is processed at one of our recycling facilities, we can use the plastic to create new plastic bags, playground equipment, furniture, and other great products! It’s a win-win for everyone – less plastic in the waste stream and new recycled content products.

For more information, take a look at the FTC Green Guides to learn more about other marketing claims.