Avoiding Package Labeling Pitfalls

When making voluntary environmental marketing claims on packaging, it’s important to follow all applicable regulations and guidelines concerning their use. These regulations and guidelines are intended to protect consumers and give businesses clear direction for responsibly communicating important messages about their packaging. 

One of the basic principles governing the use of environmental claims is to avoid making vague or broad statements. The meaning behind the claims should be clearly understandable and the claims should be limited to specific environmental attributes.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) bans companies from making misleading claims about the environmental attributes of a product or packaging in labeling, advertising, promotional materials or other marketing. 

The three most commonly used environmental symbols on product packaging are frequently misused and misunderstood: the resin identification code, the universal recycling symbol, and the Green Dot

Pay careful attention to whether and how you place these symbols on packaging. When used incorrectly, they can be construed as inaccurate environmental claims that could get you in trouble with regulators or mislead your customers.