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mulch) in a safe and timely manner in an appropriate composting program or facility, or in a home compost pile or device. Claims of compostability should be qualified to the extent necessary to avoid consumer deception. An unqualified claim might be deceptive if: (1) the package cannot be safely composted in a home compost pile or device; or (2) the claim misleads consumers about the environmental benefit provided when the product is disposed of in a landfill. A claim that a product is compostable in a municipal or institutional composting facility might need to be qualified to the extent necessary to avoid deception about the limited availability of such composting facilities.

Example 1

A manufacturer indicates that its unbleached coffee filter is compostable. The unqualified claim is not deceptive provided the manufacturer can substantiate that the filter can be converted safely to usable compost in a timely manner in a home compost pile or device. If this is the case, it is irrelevant that no local municipal or institutional composting facilities exist.

Example 2

A lawn and leaf bag is labeled as “Compostable in California Municipal Yard Trimmings Composting Facilities.’’ The bag contains toxic ingredients that are released into the compost material as the bag breaks down. The claim is deceptive if the presence of these toxic ingredients prevents the compost from being usable.

Example 3

A manufacturer makes an unqualified claim that its package is compostable. Although municipal or institutional composting facilities exist where the product is sold, the package will not break down into usable compost in a home compost pile or device. To avoid deception, the manufacturer should disclose that the package is not suitable for home composting.

Example 4

A nationally marketed lawn and leaf bag is labeled “compostable.’’ Also printed on the bag is a disclosure that the bag is not designed for use in home compost piles. The bags are in fact composted in yard trimmings composting programs in many communities around the country, but such programs are not available to a substantial majority of consumers or communities where the bag is sold. The claim is deceptive because reasonable consumers living in areas not served by yard trimmings programs might understand the reference

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