24 Jan

In recent years, more customers are looking for ways to lessen their impact on the environment. 

Many companies are looking for more eco-options, offering more recyclable options for their products, using recycled materials or using non plastic options. 

It is really important not to mislead your customers, as there are legal, ethical and brand consequences for doing so. 

Here are some recent ASA rulings that you might not be aware of:

ASA Ruling on Pepsi Lipton International

A poster for Lipton Ice Tea claimed that the bottle was 100% recycled, however in the small print, it stated “Bottle made from recycled plastic, excludes cap and label”.

The ASA concluded that as the cap and the label of the bottle were not made of recycled materials, and as the wording was in very small text that could easily be overlooked it was in breach of the advertising code. 

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.9 (Qualification) and 11.3 (Environmental claims).


ASA Ruling on Roxane UK Ltd t/a Aqua Pura

 A TV ad for Aqua Pura, seen in August 2021, featured people drinking from bottles of Aqua Pura whilst enjoying time outdoors in nature. A voice-over said, “In Cumbria there’s more to water. From clouds up high, down hill and fell and mountainside. Flowing deep for years. Nature purifies on its journey to finding you. Bottle it up, guzzle it down, bathe the hills and quench the towns. For this is aqua. Nothing purer, it’s nature friendly we assure you. Crush it down, take it back, we’ll make plenty more with that. So take a sip of Cumbria. Go out, go far, go live. Aqua Pura. Hydration for the nation.” The ad ended with two bottles of Aqua Pura on a rock with a backdrop of a lake and rolling green hills, the Aqua Pura logo and text that said “Hydration for the Nation” and “100% recycled & recyclable bottle with eco-friendly cap*”. The asterisk linked to text on screen that said “*relates to 500ml bottles only”. 

Roxane Uk Ltd commented that the bottle as made from recycled PET from their own recycling plant, and that the 500ml bottles were made from 100% recycled materials. The label and cap were made from polypropylene and HDPE plastic which may also be recycled. 

The ASA concluded that the claim "100%...recyclable bottle" was not misleading as the company demonstrated that all parts of the bottle could be recycled.

However the term "eco-friendly cap" should demonstrate that the cap as not harmful to the environment at any point in its full life cycle. 

The lid was designed to remain attached to the bottle and not to get lost in nature, however as the cap was made from non-recycled plastic, the production of the cap would have a negative impact on the environment.

On that point, the ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Substantiation) and 9.2, 9.3, 9.4 and 9.5 (Environmental claims). 

The ASA told them ..." to ensure they did not overstate the environmental benefit of their brand and products, and did not claim that products made of plastic were “eco-friendly” or “nature friendly”. 

What does this mean?

These rulings are a sign that the average consumer is increasingly reporting misleading eco-claims and that the ASA is investigating them and agreeing that some aspects of the claims are misleading. 

We would recommend researching carefully any product claims regarding its 'eco-friendly' nature and the use of recycled materials and the ability to be recycled to ensure that they are not misleading to the consumer. 

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