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FTC warns American Plastic Lumber on its post-consumer content claim

By: Jim Johnson

June 20, 2014

A California-based plastic lumber company is settling charges that it allegedly made deceptive claims about the amount of post-consumer material in its products, the Federal Trade Commission said.

American Plastic Lumber Inc. of Shingle Springs, Calif., allegedly implied in advertising and marketing materials from at least June 2011 through June 2013 that “its products — and the recycled plastics they contain — were made virtually all out of post-consumer recycled content such as milk jugs and detergent bottles,” FTC said.

But  FTC, in an administrative complaint, alleged about 8 percent of the company’s products contained no post-consumer content and nearly 7 percent of the products had only 15-percent post-consumer content.

The company’s products contained less than 79 percent post-consumer content, on average, FTC alleged.

A proposed consent order, which would last 20 years, requires the company to make true representations about the recycled-content and environmental benefits of its products. APL also would have to substantiate any recycled-content claims by showing the content comes from materials recovered from the waste stream, FTC said.

FTC wants the company to maintain and make available for five years all advertising and promotional materials as well as supporting or contradictory evidence regarding environmental claims.

APL distributes a variety of plastic lumber and products, including picnic tables, benches, trash bins, wheel stops and speed bumps.