FTC Approves Final Order Settling Charges that Down to Earth Designs, Inc. Made Deceptive Environmental Claims for its Diapers and Related Products

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final consent order settling charges that Down to Earth Designs, Inc. made deceptive environmental claims for its gDiapers diaper system, which includes a reusable outer shell (gPants) and disposable pad inner liners (gRefills), as well as baby wipes (gWipes).

According to the FTC’s January 2014 complaint, the company made false or misleading representations in marketing gRefills and gWipes as biodegradable. These representations included claims that: the products are “100% biodegradable” and “certified” biodegradable; gRefills and gWipes will biodegrade when tossed in the trash; gRefills will biodegrade when flushed; and gRefills offer an environmental benefit because they can be flushed.

The final consent order approved by the FTC – among other things — prohibits gDiapers from making biodegradable and compostable claims, unless the claims are true, not misleading, substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence, and meet specific requirements outlined in the FTC’s revised Green Guides. Additionally, any claims that a disposable diaper or wipe is compostable must clearly and prominently disclose that the product cannot be composted if soiled with solid human waste.

The Commission vote approving the final consent order was 4-0.  (FTC File No. 122-3268; the staff contact is Laura Kim, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3734)

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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