The Advertising Standards Authority has told Ancol Pet Products not to use any future promotional material that advertises the fact its Refill Poop Bags are biodegradable, ruling that the claims are misleading.
The ASA said Ancol must ensure that its future advertising did not mislead by making environmental claims unless it held adequate evidence to substantiate those claims.
A product page for dog waste bags on www.ancol.co.uk, seen on 2 March 2018, featured text which stated "Refill Poop Bag Rolls...These thick waste bags are biodegradable to lessen your dog's impact on the environment".
The ASA received one complaint suggesting the bags were made of a material that was not capable of biodegradation.
In response Ancol said that its bags were produced using a controlled-life plastic technology, which was added during the manufacturing stage of production of their bags. The company stated that the material used converted everyday plastic products into materials which were biodegradable in the open environment.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand the term "biodegradable" to mean the capability of a product to disintegrate and decompose safely and relatively quickly in the open environment, leaving nothing behind.
The authority stated: “We acknowledged Ancol’s comments with regard to the additive and its ability to control and shorten the life of normal plastic products and packaging. However, no evidence had been provided to demonstrate this and that the product was consequently biodegradable.
“We consulted Defra over the topic of oxo-degradable plastics. We understood that oxo-degradable plastics degraded quicker in the open environment than conventional plastics. However, we also acknowledged that there were concerns that plastic fragments and smaller, microplastics were left behind, which could have a harmful effect on the open environment, and in particular marine life.
“We understood from Defra that oxo-degradable plastics left in the open environment degraded (broke up into small fragments) in two to five years, and that biodegradation of those plastics could only occur once they had fragmented. We considered that this length of time was not in line with how consumers were likely to interpret the term 'biodegradable' as set out above.
“Because of those concerns and because no testing or evidence had been provided to demonstrate the bags ability to biodegrade, we concluded that the claims that the product was biodegradable and would lessen the impact of dogs on the environment were misleading and had not been substantiated.”
The full ruling can be viewed by clicking here