FTC Slaps Diaper Company for False Biodegradability Claims
The gDiapers diaper system consists of two pieces: the reusable outer shall, called gPants, and the inner liner, either a disposable pad (gRefills) or a reusable cloth insert.
The FTC complaint says gDiapers falsely or misleadingly represented that:
- gRefills and gWipes are biodegradable, meaning they will completely decompose within one year;
- gRefills and gWipes will biodegrade when trashed;
- gRefills will biodegrade when flushed;
- gRefills are “certified” biodegradable;
- no part of used gRefills will end up in a landfill or incinerator after disposal by trashing or flushing; and/or
- gDiapers are plastic free.
In truth, the FTC says, the products will not completely decompose in a year, are not biodegradable when trashed or flushed, do end up in a landfill and are not plastic free.
The company has agreed to a proposed settlement that says it neither admits nor denies the allegations in the FTC complaint. GDiapers agrees to stop making biodegradable claims unless it has “reliable scientific evidence” to support those claims. The company won’t pay a financial penalty unless it violates the settlement.
Late last year, the FTC took action against six companies — ECM Biofilms, American Plastic Manufacturing, Champ, Clear Choice Housewares, Carnie Cap and AJM Packaging — for making false environmental marketing claims. Of the six, one imposed a $450,000 civil penalty and five for the first time addressed deceptive biodegradable plastic claims.
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