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AirPouch EarthAware Biodegradeable Film Labeling Changes

Press Release from Automated Packaging Systems

Recent updates to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Green Guides and California law necessitate changes in how Automated Packaging Systems, and our customers, can label products which use our EarthAware™ Biodegradable Film.  To quickly summarize the important changes:

FTC Green Guides

The previous version of the Green Guides allowed printing “biodegradable” on the bag, with no further qualification, provided that scientific evidence was available that showed the material would biodegrade in a “reasonable period of time”.  EarthAware Biodegradable material met this requirement.  However, the new version of the Green Guides now defines a reasonable period of time as less than one year and, furthermore, that no product customarily disposed of in a landfill is capable of biodegrading in less than one year.  Since the vast majority of our products do end up in landfills, we are no longer able to label or market our products as biodegradable without an additional time frame qualification.  In order to meet the new requirement and still label bags as biodegradable, we must add additional text to the bag stating the expected rate of bio-degradation.  In the case of our material, that qualification is 1 to 5 years.

California Law

California law previously prohibited labeling bags and food and beverage containers sold in or into California as biodegradable.  Autobag® and SidePouch® bags have been subject to this restriction since EarthAware Biodegradable Film was introduced.  Not being a bag or food and beverage container, this law did not apply to AirPouch pillows.  The recently enacted law now prohibits labeling any plastic product as biodegradable or similar which now includes AirPouch pillows.  Please note, it is still lawful to use our biodegradable film; it simply can’t be labeled as such.

In consideration of the FTC Green Guides and California law changes, we will be making the following changes and recommendations based on product line.

AirPouch EarthAware Biodegradable Air Pillows

Since the overwhelming majority of our AirPouch customers ship product into California, we must standardize on their labeling requirement.  Effective immediately, the EarthAware logo printed on EarthAware Biodegradable pillows will no longer include the description “Biodegradable Film”.  We believe our customers will readily accept this change as it is ultimately in their best interest, and the change is minimal.  The pillows are still made with the same biodegradable material, will remain tinted green to indicate environmental sensitivity, and display the EarthAware brand which has gained significant market awareness.  This change affects the labeling of the product only.  On the new pillows, you will also notice that we have taken the opportunity to refresh the supporting language and warnings in the artwork.

Autobag and SidePouch EarthAware Biodegradable Bags

While nearly 100% of AirPouch pillows use stock artwork and are likely to end up in California, treating them equally makes the most sense.  In the case of Autobag and SidePouch bags, it’s more likely that they won’t end up in California and/or the customer may choose to have separate bags specifically for the unique requirements of California.  As such, we are giving our customers the choice of how they would like their bags labeled in consideration of both the new FTC guidelines and California law.

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