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Glossary: biodegradable

biodegradable: term used to describe a product or package that will completely break down and return to nature, i.e., decompose into elements found in nature within a reasonably short period of time after customary disposal. The Federal Trade Commission’s current Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims (the so-called “FTC Green Guides”) require that such claims be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence and qualified to the extent necessary to avoid consumer deception about: (1) the product or package's ability to degrade in the environment where it is customarily disposed; and (2) the rate and extent of degradation. Source: 16 C.F.R. § 260.6. The FTC has proposed that the term “a reasonably short period of time” be interpreted to mean no more than one year. Source: 16 C.F.R § 260.8 FTC’s Green Guides.