Here at The Grow Bags 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 2012, and are proud to say that our product adheres to the high standards outlined for claims of degradation, renewable resource composition, and compostability.
The Grow Bags claim Eco-efficiency because the bio-plastic 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.
Section 260.7(b) outlines that “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.”
The material made to produce The Grow Bags has been scientifically tested and certified as being compostable within the Green Guides’ recommended time frame 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)
Section 260.7(d) states that “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.”
At The Grow Bags 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 :
The FTC Green Guide emphasizes the importance of having focused and informative evidence available for all claims of a product as “degradable”. Per section 206.8(d), which states that “Degradable claims should be qualified clearly and prominently to the extent necessary to avoid deception”.
Our product is made out of an extrusion-grade material which is a compound of cereal flours and biodegradable polyesters. This material source allows The Grow 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 bio-degradation.
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.
Section 260.16(b), requires that “Unless marketers have substantiation for all their express and reasonably implied claims, they should clearly and prominently qualify their renewable materials claims.” Per section 260.16(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.”
The necessary qualifications and specifications of the renewable material sources that comprise our 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%.
At The Grow Bags we actively monitor California laws and regulations regarding our environmental marketing practices. We have reviewed the relevant sections of California Public Resource Code, Sections 42355 – 42358.5, and are proud to say we adhere to the standards that have been outlined.
These sections state that, due to the nature of the product/waste cycle of products such as ours, a claim of “biodegradable”, “decomposable”, and/or “degradable” cannot be substantiated with adequate disclaimers to convey the breadth of scientific evidence necessary for such claims to be substantiated.
The Grow Bags do not promote, identify, or present any such claim on our product, packaging, or promotional/advertising materials. Our product’s environmental benefits are substantiated and narrowly defined (as further clarified in the federal guidelines adherence claims above).
This section requires that “a person shall not sell a plastic product in this state that is labeled with the term "compostable," "home compostable," or "marine degradable" unless, at the time of sale, the plastic product meets the applicable ASTM standard specification, as specified in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 42356 or the Vincotte OK Compost HOME certification, as provided in paragraph”.
This section requires that a product claiming compostability is “Labeled with a certification logo indicating the bag meets the ASTM D6400 standard specification if the bag has been certified as meeting that standard by a recognized third-party independent verification.
AIB VINCOTTE International Certification Committee has approved The Grow 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 The Grow Bags and issued a Certificate for Award, allowing the use of the “OK Compost HOME” Conformity Mark.