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FTC Fast-tracks Green Guides Update

The Federal Trade Commission earlier this month began reviewing its environmental marketing guidelines, known as Green Guides. Although the periodic review was not slated to take place until 2009, the explosion in green products and marketing — not to mention the confusion about claims — prompted the stepped-up schedule.

The FTC Green Guides — created in 1992 and last reviewed in 1998 — outline principles for all environmental marketing claims, including specifics about what constitutes degradability, compostability, recyclability, recycled content and ozone safety.

The FTC is now soliciting comments on the Guides, including questions about costs, benefits and effectiveness.

The commission will hold a series of public hearings on the matter on a number of green marketing topics; dates and topics have not yet been scheduled, but potential subjects include packaging and labeling, according to an FTC spokesman.

Although no hard deadlines have been set, the review process is likely to be completed within 12 months.

Copies of the documents generated thus far are available at www.ftc.gov and from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20580. Toll-free information is available at 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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