California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Degradable, Compostable, and Biodegradable Plastics

Public Concerns and Product Labeling

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has developed this site as a reference for anyone with concerns about environmental labeling claims. This site is not to be construed as a legal recommendation by CalRecycle. When considering any labeling claims, an interested party may need to consult with their own legal counsel. The following resources are available for manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers interested in pursuing enforcement of environmental labeling claims:

California’s Laws on Compostable, Degradable and Biodegradable Plastics: California’s Legislature has adopted laws to address Plastic Rings Devices (AB 3263, Ackerman, Statutes of 1996), Biodegradable and Compostable Plastic Bags (SB 1749, Karnettte, Statutes of 2004) and Plastic Food and Beverage Containers (AB 2147, Harmon, Statutes of 2006). All of these laws can be found in Public Resources Code (PRC) Sections 42350 and 42355 - 42358.5 respectively.

Unfair Competition and Misleading Advertisement(s): An advertisement that is false or misleading is prohibited in California. The California Department of Consumer Affairs is a resource available for individuals concerned with false and/or misleading advertisements. An advertisement that fails to disclose information or is ambiguous, partially or literally true, may be found unlawful if the public is likely to be deceived by it. For more information please refer to California’s Business and Professional Code Section 17500.

California’s Attorney General: The Attorney General has established and operates projects and programs to protect Californians from fraudulent, unfair, and illegal activities that victimize consumers or threaten public safety. Through these projects and programs, the Attorney General enforces California’s laws that safeguard the environment and natural resources.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The FTC seeks to prevent deception and unfairness in the marketplace and provides information for companies seeking assistance with federal labeling claims. The FTC Act gives the Commission the power to bring law enforcement actions against false or misleading marketing claims. The FTC issued its Environmental Guides, referenced as the "Green Guides:”

FTC‘s “Green Guides:" The Green Guides address environmental advertising and marketing practices. They provide the basis for voluntary compliance with such laws by members of industry. The guides apply to any claim about the environmental attributes of a product, package or service in connection with the sale, offering for sale, or marketing of such product, package or service for personal, family or household use, or for commercial, institutional or industrial use. Conduct inconsistent with the positions articulated in these guides may result in corrective action by the FTC.

Degradable Plastics Home