FTC Warns Makers of Biodegradable Plastic Bags that Their Claims May be Deceptive

FTC Warns Makers of Biodegradable Plastic Bags that Their Claims May be Deceptive
Image: Pixabay
October 21, 2014

Your favorite brand of biodegradable plastic bags may not be as environmentally friendly as you think.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent letters to 15 makers of oxodegradable plastic waste bags warning that their claims may be deceptive. The FTC is not releasing the names of the companies.

Oxodegradable plastic bags are made with an additive intended to help the bag degrade faster than a traditional plastic bag, which have been reported to take between 500 and 1,000 years to decompose. Truth is, however, no one really knows how long it will take that bag to degrade.

Like traditional plastic bags, the final stop for biodegradable plastic is a landfill, where trash of all types has little exposure to air, light and water, which are generally necessary for decomposition.

Contrary to their marketing, says the FTC, a biodegradable plastic bag might be here for just as long as a traditional bag.

The makers of these bags are required to remove their oxogegradable claims from their marketing, or respond with competent and reliable scientific evidence proving that their bags will biodegrade as advertised.