Report finds green claims on PET beverage bottles likely to be misleading

Circularity claims on PET beverage bottles, such as “100% recyclable” or “100% recycled”, are likely to mislead consumers, according to a new report published today (October 31).

The report, produced by ClientEarth, ECOS (Environmental Coalition on Standards), Eunomia Research & Consulting and Zero Waste Europe, is based on previous work by Eunomia which concluded that PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is currently not a material circular even in the “best”. recycling systems in Europe”.

Circularity claims can be inaccurate in some cases, the report found, and generally give an impression of the “sustainability” of PET beverage bottles that “does not reflect reality.”

Commenting on the report, Andy Grant, Technical Director of Eunomia Research & Consulting, said: “PET beverage bottles should not be marketed using language or imagery that says or implies circularity, sustainability and/or climate neutrality.

“Even when considering only the PET body and in the most efficient recycling system, complete circularity is not technically feasible. There will always be a need for an input of virgin plastic.”

PET beverage bottles must not be marketed with language or imagery that states or implies circularity.

The report investigated examples of claims on the package and found that the term recyclable is “ambiguous” and should not be placed on the bottles. Instead, it recommends that the labels provide consumers with clear instructions on how to dispose of the packaging.

It also finds that “100% recycled” claims may not account for all of the bottle’s components, as the report states that caps and labels are rarely made of recycled content. The report says companies should address these practices to avoid misleading consumers and potentially violating consumer protection laws.

plastic packaging
The report says companies should address these practices to avoid misleading consumers.

The authors of the report conclude that PET beverage bottles should not be marketed with a language or image that implies circularity or sustainability.

Rosa Pritchard from ClientEarth, said: “This report clearly shows that the ‘circularity of plastic bottles’ is a myth. Claims on bottles that promote this idea risk misleading consumers and present an obstacle to the green transition .

“Consumers need access to fair and honest information about the environmental impacts of products, and clear information about recycling. We need to take action on these claims to rebuild consumer confidence and better protect the planet.”

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