ASA calls for more transparency on ‘green disposal’ claims as public confused

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is calling for greater transparency on green disposal claims and will work with advertisers to help them adapt in 2024, following fresh research into the subject.

The ASA is hosting an online event to share its findings from extensive interviews with the public around their understanding of waste disposal claims, alongside the launch of its new five-year strategy.

Among the findings the regulator found that people’s engagement with green disposal usually occurs at home and as part of regular recycling collections – with people stating that they are ‘proud’ of ‘doing their bit’ for the environment.

Participants were also focused on how they dispose of waste at home and felt it was unfair to ask people to donate more outside the home including the use of drop off points, and also called for more information about how to recycle product parts.

In addition, whilst people said they were likely to understand the differences between ‘recycling’ and ‘recycled’, they were more confused about terms like ‘compostable’, ‘biodegradable’ and expressed frustration that this term could be applied to an unlimited timescale – with some products releasing toxins upon biodegrading.

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Overall, there were calls for transparency about the length of time it takes for a product described as ‘biodegradable’ to degrade – as well as specific disposal risks.

“We’re committed to playing our part in combatting climate change. This new research shows that the public are keen to dispose of waste in a responsible and effective way, but they need more clarity to better understand the claims being used about disposal,” said ASA CEO Guy Parker.

“Ads have a role to play in that education. We want to help businesses get it right and to feel confident talking about their green initiatives,” he continued.

“As we enter the beginning of our next five-year strategy, we will continue to help advertisers make sure their ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful.”

NewsResearch and Data

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