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FTC Consumer Alert: "Eco-Speak: A User's Guide to the Language of Recycling"
Eco-Speak: A User's Guide to the Language of Recycling
It’s no secret that consumers are interested in buying products that are kind to the environment. But when it comes to recycling, can you heed what you read?
The Federal Trade Commission, which seeks to protect consumers from deceptive and unsubstantiated advertising, says claims on products and packaging about recyclability and recycled content may be misunderstood. Here’s what the FTC wants consumers to know:
This universal recycling symbol means that the product is both recyclable and made of recycled materials. If only one of these claims is true, the manufacturer should say which one.
Manufacturers use this look-alike symbol, developed by the Society of the Plastics Industry, to indicate the type of plastic used for the packaging. SPI code numbers range from 1 to 7. Check with your local recycling office to find out which codes are acceptable for recycling in your community. Not all communities collect and recycle containers with the same codes.
The bottom line: Every community has its own recycling program. Just because a product or package carries the universal recycling symbol or says it’s recyclable doesn’t mean it will be collected for recycling in your neighborhood. To help your community save the time and money it spends separating the items it recycles from the ones it doesn’t, find out which are appropriate for the recycling bins. If you have questions about a particular item, check with your local recycling office.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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