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Environmental claims: Recycling

Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.

Marketers should ensure that they hold evidence to substantiate claims such as the extent to which their products are recycled or what percentage of their product is made from recycled materials.  One advertiser that claimed their coffins were made of “100% recycled cardboard” was asked to change the claim because the outer edges of the cardboard were not recycled (Colourful Coffins Ltd, 14 March 2012).  Marketers should be careful that they do not make claims such as “100% environmentally friendly” or "totally recyclable for zero environmental legacy", that cannot be substantiated (SEEBOARD Energy Ltd, 8 January 2003, and Euroclad Ltd, 14 June 2006).

The ASA has adjudicated that consumers will understand that a product will not necessarily be recycled if it is described as “100% recyclable” as long as it can potentially be recycled. Marketers should nevertheless ensure that they do not exaggerate the environmental credentials of their product, for example by implying that all of a product can be recycled if only part of it can be (Rockwool Insulation Ltd, 14 October 2009).

See also Environmental claims: General

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