Jointly produced by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Postal Service
Be specific. Avoid implying significant environmental benefit if the benefit is slight. Vague claims, such as environmentally friendly, earth friendly, or environmentally safe, may lead consumers to believe that the product has environmental benefits it doesn't actually have. Qualify those terms to clarify the environmental attribute you are claiming.
Be clear. Use words that consumers understand. If the words are industry jargonor if they can be misinterpreteddon't use them.
Be definitive. Your claim should specify whether the environmental benefit refers to the mailpiece, its contents, or both.
Symbols can help communicate environmental messages to your customers, but it's important to explain them.
For example, the three-chasing-arrows symbol means that the mailpiece is both recycled and recyclable. If you want to indicate only one of these claims, say which one.
When you use the three-chasing-arrows symbol for a recycled content claim, disclose the percentage, by weight, of the recycled material if it is less than 100 percent.
You may include the term "postconsumer" contentpaper recovered after consumers have used itif you can substantiate it. Your paper supplier must be able to substantiate your claim.
If you use the three-chasing-arrows symbol to indicate that the product is recyclable, you should be able to substantiate that recycling collection programs for the particular product are available to a substantial majority of consumers or communities. If not, qualify the claim with an appropriate statement like "recyclable in towns with mixed paper recycling."
Before you make an environmental claim, make sure it is correct and can be substantiated.
For example, if you claim that a mailpiece is recyclable, you must make sure that it can be collected for recycling by a substantial majority of consumers who receive it. Otherwise, you must qualify your claim with an appropriate statement like "Collection sites for recycling this mailpiece have been established in a dozen major metropolitan areas."
Place your claim on the mailpiece so it meets U.S. Postal Service requirements for mail processing. Keep it out of the postage, return address, and optical character reader address areas as well as the barcode and remote barcode clear zones. On the back of the mailpiece, keep it 5/8 inch or more above the bottom. If placing it on the front of the mailpiece, put it in the far lower left-hand corner, no more than 5/8 inch above the bottom.
To learn more about the Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, contact the Federal Trade Commission.
For help on putting an environmental claim on your mailpiece, call the U.S. Postal Service Customer Service Center, 1-800-275-8777, and ask for the Postal Business Center nearest you.
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