Here at beyondGREEN we strive to stay current and compliant with all Federal Trade Commission guidelines in regards to products claiming environmental benefits. We have reviewed the latest Green Guide provided by the FTC in October of 2022 and are proud to say that our product adheres to the high standards outlined for claims of degradation, renewable resource composition, and compostability.
§ 260.4 General Environmental Benefits Claims.
(a) It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product, package, or service offers a general environmental benefit.
(b) Unqualified general environmental benefit claims are difficult to interpret and likely convey a wide range of meanings. In many cases, such claims likely convey that the product, package, or service has specific and far-reaching environmental benefits and may convey that the item or service has no negative environmental impact. Because it is highly unlikely that marketers can substantiate all reasonable interpretations of these claims, marketers should not make unqualified general environmental benefit claims.
(c) Marketers can qualify general environmental benefit claims to prevent deception about the nature of the environmental benefit being asserted. To avoid deception, marketers should use clear and prominent qualifying language that limits the claim to a specific benefit or benefits. Marketers should not imply that any specific benefit is significant if it is, in fact, negligible. If a qualified general claim conveys that a product is more environmentally beneficial overall because of the particular touted benefit(s), marketers should analyze trade-offs resulting from the benefit(s) to determine if they can substantiate this claim.
(d) Even if a marketer explains, and has substantiation for, the product's specific environmental attributes, this explanation will not adequately qualify a general environmental benefit claim if the advertisement otherwise implies deceptive claims. Therefore, marketers should ensure that the advertisement's context does not imply deceptive environmental claims.
§ 260.6 Certifications and Seals of Approval
(a) It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product, package, or service has been endorsed or certified by an independent third party.
(b) A marketer's use of the name, logo, or seal of approval of a third-party certifier or organization may be an endorsement, which should meet the criteria for endorsements provided in the FTC's Endorsement Guides, 16 CFR part 255, including Definitions (§ 255.0), General Considerations (§ 255.1), Expert Endorsements (§ 255.3), Endorsements by Organizations (§ 255.4), and Disclosure of Material Connections (§ 255.5).
(c) Third-party certification does not eliminate a marketer's obligation to ensure that it has substantiation for all claims reasonably communicated by the certification.
(d) A marketer's use of an environmental certification or seal of approval likely conveys that the product offers a general environmental benefit (see § 260.4) if the certification or seal does not convey the basis for the certification or seal, either through the name or some other means. Because it is highly unlikely that marketers can substantiate general environmental benefit claims, marketers should not use environmental certifications or seals that do not convey the basis for the certification.
(e) Marketers can qualify general environmental benefit claims conveyed by environmental certifications and seals of approval to prevent deception about the nature of the environmental benefit being asserted. To avoid deception, marketers should use clear and prominent qualifying language that clearly conveys that the certification or seal refers only to specific and limited benefits.
§ 260.7 Compostable Claims.
(a) It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product or package is compostable. -
(b) A marketer claiming that an item is compostable should have competent and reliable scientific evidence that all the materials in the item will break down into, or otherwise become part of, usable compost (e.g., soil-conditioning material, mulch) in a safe and timely manner (i.e., in approximately the same time as the materials with which it is composted) in an appropriate composting facility, or in a home compost pile or device.
(c) A marketer should clearly and prominently qualify compostable claims to the extent necessary to avoid deception if:
(1) The item cannot be composted safely or in a timely manner in a home compost pile or device; or
(2) The claim misleads reasonable consumers about the environmental benefit provided when the item is disposed of in a landfill.
(d) To avoid deception about the limited availability of municipal or institutional composting facilities, a marketer should clearly and prominently qualify compostable claims if such facilities are not available to a substantial majority of consumers or communities where the item is sold.
§ 260.8 Degradable Claims.
(a) It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product or package is degradable, biodegradable, oxo-degradable, oxo-biodegradable, or photodegradable. The following guidance for degradable claims also applies to biodegradable, oxo-degradable, oxo-biodegradable, and photodegradable claims.
(b) A marketer making an unqualified degradable claim should have competent and reliable scientific evidence that the entire item will completely break down and return to nature (i.e., decompose into elements found in nature) within a reasonably short period of time after customary disposal.
(c) It is deceptive to make an unqualified degradable claim for items entering the solid waste stream if the items do not completely decompose within one year after customary disposal. Unqualified degradable claims for items that are customarily disposed in landfills, incinerators, and recycling facilities are deceptive because these locations do not present conditions in which complete decomposition will occur within one year.
(d) Degradable claims should be qualified clearly and prominently to the extent necessary to avoid deception about:
(1) The product's or package's ability to degrade in the environment where it is customarily disposed; and
(2) The rate and extent of degradation.
§ 260.16 Renewable Materials Claims.
(a) It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product or package is made with renewable materials.
(b) Research suggests that reasonable consumers may interpret renewable materials claims differently than marketers may intend. Unless marketers have substantiation for all their express and reasonably implied claims, they should clearly and prominently qualify their renewable materials claims. For example, marketers may minimize the risk of unintended implied claims by identifying the material used and explaining why the material is renewable.
(c) Marketers should also qualify any “made with renewable materials” claim unless the product or package (excluding minor, incidental components) is made entirely with renewable materials.
§ 3201.143 Shopping and Trash Bags.
(a) Definition. Shopping and trash bags are open-ended bags that are typically made of thin, flexible film and are used for containing and transporting items such as consumer goods and waste. Examples include trash bags, can liners, shopping or grocery bags, pet waste bags, compost bags, and yard waste bags. This category does not include product packaging, disposable containers, or semi-durable and non-durable films.
(b) Minimum biobased content. The Federal preferred procurement product must have a minimum biobased content of at least 22 percent, which shall be based on the amount of qualifying biobased carbon in the product as a percent of the total organic carbon in the finished product.
(c) Preference compliance date. No later than July 6, 2020, procuring agencies, in accordance with this part, will give a procurement preference for qualifying biobased shopping and trash bags. By that date, Federal agencies responsible for drafting or reviewing specifications for products to be procured shall ensure that the relevant specifications require the use of biobased shopping and trash bags.
(d) Determining overlap with a designated product category in the EPA's CPG program. Qualifying products within this product category may overlap with the EPA's CPG-designated recovered content product category of Non-Paper Office Products: Plastic Trash Bags. USDA is requesting that manufacturers of these qualifying biobased products provide information on the BioPreferred Program's website about the intended uses of the product, information on whether the product contains any recovered material, in addition to biobased ingredients, and performance standards against which the product has been tested. This information will assist Federal agencies in determining whether a qualifying biobased product overlaps with the EPA's CPG-designated product category of Non-Paper Office Products: Trash Bags and which product should be afforded the preference in purchasing.
California Green Guides
Short-lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP): Organic Waste Reductions (SB 1383) (Went into effect 2022).
§ 18984.1. Three-container Organic Waste Collection Services.
(a) A jurisdiction may comply with the requirements of this article by implementing a three-container organic waste collection service and providing a green container, a blue container, and a gray container to each generator in the following manner:
(1) The green container shall be provided for the collection of organic waste. The green container shall be intended for the collection of organic waste only and not non-organic waste. The contents of the green container shall be transported to a facility that recovers source separated organic waste.
(A) Compostable plastics may be placed in the green container if the material meets the ASTM D6400 sections 5.1 through 6.4.2 standard for compostability as published May, 2019, which is hereby incorporated by reference, and the contents of the green containers are transported to compostable material handling operations or facilities or in-vessel digestion operations or facilities that have provided written notification annually to the jurisdiction stating that the facility can process and recover that material.
§ 18984.5. Container Contamination Minimization.
(f) For the purposes of demonstrating compliance with 18998.1, organic waste that is textiles, carpet, hazardous wood waste, human waste, pet waste, or material subject to a quarantine on movement issued by a county agricultural commissioner, is not required to be measured as organic waste.
§ 18998.1. Requirements for Performance-Based Source Separated Collection Service.
(a) If a jurisdiction implements a performance-based source separated organic waste collection service it shall:
(1) Provide a three-container organic waste collection service consistent with Section 18984.1 (a), (b) and (d)-(f) of this chapter to at least 90 percent of the commercial businesses and 90 percent of the residential sector subject to the jurisdiction’s authority. 23
(2) Transport the contents of the source separated organic waste collection stream to a designated source separated organic waste facility.
(3) Ensure that the presence of organic waste in the gray container collection stream does not exceed an annual average of 25 percent by weight.
(A) The annual average percent of organic waste present in the gray container collection stream shall be determined by the results of waste evaluations performed by the jurisdiction pursuant to Section 18984.5.
(B) The annual average percent of organic waste present in a jurisdiction’s gray container collection stream is the average of the results of the gray container waste collection stream samples performed by the jurisdiction in the immediately previous four quarters pursuant to Section 18984.5.
(4) Provide collection service to organic waste generators subject to their authority. Consistent with Section 18984.1, a jurisdiction shall not require commercial businesses or residents to request solid waste collection service prior to enrollment.
(5) Notify the Department pursuant to Section 18998.3.
beyondGREEN biotech, Inc.
At beyondGREEN biotech, Inc. we ensure that all of our product packaging, especially for pet waste bags contains a message informing customers that the product within the packaging is made from compostable materials and that the packaging itself is not compostable. i.e. (1) "These logos refer to the packaged product and not the packaging" and (2) "The product within this packaging is made from certified home compostable material."
We ensure that the resin we use to manufacture our products is lab tested by third-party organizations such as TUV and BPI and is certified compostable as well as ensure that all of our Finished Goods are also certified compostable. Please note that while our pet waste bags are made from certified compostable materials, and as per the EPA's note on pet waste not being compostable due to the pathogens in pet waste itself, we do NOT state that beyondGREEN pet waste bags are compostable themselves. We also do advise to consumers that not all industrial composting facilities accept pet waste.
Our beyondGREEN Bags claim Eco-efficiency because the bioplastic material used to make the bags is composed from ecologically efficient vegetable (maize) plants. One hectare of maize absorbs 20-30 tons of carbon and supplies two to four times more oxygen than one hectare of forest. Our process is parsimonious in the use of water, with maize using water 40% more efficiently than wheat.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Biopreffered program for use of Certified Biobased Product Label for beyondGREEN Bags has been approved and indicates that our product’s biobased content is up to 35%.
AIB VINCOTTE International Certification Committee has approved beyondGREEN Bags and issued a Certificate of Award, allowing the use of the “OK Compost” Conformity Mark as per EN 13432 certification criteria.
AIB VINCOTTE International Certification Committee has approved beyondGREEN Bags and issued a Certificate for Award, allowing the use of the “OK Compost HOME” Conformity Mark.
beyondGREEN Bags have been scientifically tested and certified as being compostable within the Green Guides’ recommended timeframe of no longer than 1 year by OK Compost, as well as being certified by the USDA as a biobased product. (further information on the standards and measures for qualification can be obtained through the websites of the respective agencies)
At beyondGREEN we understand that not all of our customers live in communities with optimal municipal composting programs. Per the Green Guide, and our own passion for renewable infrastructure, provided below are helpful links for finding composting systems and programs in your area:
- US Composting Council( See the Resource & Education tab)
- A nationwide resource for locating composting facilities near you.
- Information about composting your dog and cat waste.
- This helpful guide, compiled by the USDA, provides information and resources on how to safely and efficiently compost your pet’s waste.
Our product is made out of an extrusion-grade bioplastic that is a compound of cereal flours and biodegradable polyesters. This material source allows beyondGREEN Bags to degrade into fragmented molecules through the actions of moisture, heat, UV rays, and/or enzymes which reduce the molecular chains and resistance capabilities of the polymers present. The fragmentation process then leads to the secondary process of biodegradation.
The aforementioned fragments can be consumed by organisms and converted into CO2 and/or CH4, H2O and, possibly, some other by-products (residues, new biomass) which are non-toxic for the environment, at a rate equal to the decomposition of other similarly structured compounds.
The degradation-fragmentation process our bags under-go allows us to proudly state that our product breaks down completely into compounds found within nature (producing good quality humus, suitable for use in gardening or agriculture), in less than 1 year. Even though our bags are degradable in aerobic or anaerobic conditions and the entire product or package will completely break down and return to nature within a reasonably short period of time after customary disposal, we promote and encourage “zero waste to landfill” disposal. We provide our consumers with informative resources for responsible disposal of our pet waste bags in industrial bio-solid composting facilities or backyard dog waste composters.
The necessary qualifications and specifications of the renewable material sources that comprise our beyondGREEN Bags can be confirmed as per The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Biopreffered program for use of Certified Biobased Product Label. The aforementioned seal certifies that our product’s biobased content is up to 35%.
When working with beyondGREEN biotech, Inc. to Private Label bags or Customer Manufacturing your bags:
The beyondGREEN bags, which you are purchasing to be sold under your private label (the “Bags”), are certified to use the TUV AUSTRIA “OK COMPOST HOME” and “OK COMPOST INDUSTRIAL” conformity mark (the “TUV Logo”). The use of the TUV Logo is under strict regulation; therefore, beyondGREEN cannot produce Bags for you which are not in compliance with these rules.
Restrictions on Certification Claims
1. For traceability reasons, any Bags that you order must include beyondGREEN’s TUV Logo with their personal S0560 Code on the finished product. Generally, the TUV LOGO DOES NOT APPEAR ON THE PACKAGING FOR THE PRODUCT.
2. If it is not practicable to exclude the TUV Logo from the packaging, then beyondGREEN may manufacture your packaging with the TUV Logo on it, but there must be a clearly visible disclaimer in the immediate vicinity1 of the TUV Logo that states “this logo refers to the packaged product and not the packaging.”
3. Regardless of whether the TUV Logo appears on the product or the packaging, it must be clear that beyondGREEN is the certified license holder and you must IN NO WAY IMPLY, CLAIM, OR LEAD CONSUMERS TO BELIEVE THAT YOU OR YOUR BRAND OWN THE CERTIFICATION.
Design for Bags Sold in California
California law imposes strict and technical restrictions on the design of bags certified as compostable. In order to manufacture the Bags under your private label, your design request must comply with one of the following:
1. The Bag is made of a uniform color of green and labeled with the word “compostable” on one side of the bag, and the label is at least one inch in height.
2. The Bag is labelled with the word “compostable” on both sides of the bag and the label shall be one of the following:
a. Green color lettering at least one inch in height.
b. Within a contrasting green color band of at least one inch in height on both sides of the bag with color contrasting lettering of at least one-half inch in height.
Please note, however, that your bag will be smaller than 14 inches by 14 inches, the lettering and stripe may be in proportion to the size of the bag.
You agree that once you receive the Bags from beyondGREEN YOU SHALL MAKE NO MODIFICATIONS to the Bags’ design (e.g. no welding or additional printing).
Environmental Marketing Claims
You understand that while beyondGREEN shall make reasonable efforts to inform you of any problematic claims in your bag design, ultimately, you are responsible for ensuring legal compliance of the artwork, claims, designs, and images that you request. You understand that the following is a non-exhaustive list of general standards for your bag design:
Do NOT includes the terms “Biodegradable,” “Decomposable,” “Degradable,” or any similar term implying that the products will break down or decompose.
You may include the term “Compostable,” BUT, if you do, you must qualify the claim to explain the limits and must also include the following disclaimers for any such claim:
(a) compostable refers to the packaged product and not the packaging (b) suitable for home and industrial compost; requires pet-waste composter; composting facilities may not exist in your area.
Do NOT makes claims that the Bags are universally “compostable” if composting facilities are not available to at least 60% of consumers where your product is sold (very limited facilities that compost pet waste).
Do NOT include phrases that imply the Bag is not made from a type of plastic such as: “zero plastic,” “plastic free,” or “made of bioplastics or plastic-alternatives.”
You certify that any artwork, environmental claims, or images that you request for the Bags shall be strictly scrutinized by your legal counsel for compliance with these terms, as well as all applicable federal and state laws governing environmental claims.
For more information on Environmental Claims, please refer to:
California Public Resources Code 42357.5(b).
California Public Resources Code 42355.
https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/federal_register_notices/guides-useenvironmental-marketing-claims-green-guides/greenguidesfrn.pdf (Green Guides); CaliforniaBusiness & Professions Code, and the California Public Resources Code.