NAD Reaches Mixed Decision on Environmental Benefit Claims for Blueland Cleaning Products

Advertising Law

In a mixed decision, the National Advertising Division (NAD) found that One Home Brands, Inc., d/b/a Blueland provided adequate substantiation for claims that its cleaning tablet wrappers are biodegradable and compostable, but recommended that Blueland discontinue unqualified recyclability claims and modify other environmental benefit claims. The NAD also recommended that Blueland discontinue certain challenged comparative cleaning performance and safety claims.

The claims appeared on the Blueland website and in social media advertising. They were challenged by The Clorox Company, maker of competing cleaning products.

The challenge involved claims for Blueland’s cleaning products, which are designed to eliminate the need for single-use plastic by replacing some of the items traditionally sold in disposable plastic bottles with reusable bottles and dry replacement tablets. Consumers purchase cleaning “kits” from the Blueland website to make the cleaning products at home by combining dry tablets and water. Consumers can then fill and refill the reusable bottles as needed.

Clorox challenged the claims that Blueland’s bottles are “Forever Bottles.” The NAD determined that in the context of the advertising at issue, consumers will understand the term to mean that the bottles can be used over and over again, provided that they are used as intended and with reasonable care. The NAD concluded that Blueland’s use of the term “forever” to describe its bottles did not convey a misleading message.

The NAD determined that Blueland substantiated the claims that its tablet wrappers were both biodegradable and compostable. However, the NAD recommended that Blueland discontinue the claim “every piece of packaging – from our tablet wrapper, shipping materials, our Forever Bottles (which aren’t intended for you to recycle) – is 100% recyclable,” as well as its use of unqualified recyclability claims for the Forever Bottles, because these claims were not supported. The NAD also recommended that Blueland modify its recyclability claims to clarify that, in the instances in which a Forever Bottle fails, it is only recyclable through Blueland’s take-back program.

The NAD also recommended that:

  • Blueland modify the claim “better for your home and our planet” to clearly indicate the specific environmental benefits of its packaging.
  • Blueland discontinue the claim “bad for germs, good for earth” or modify it to identify the specific ways in which its products and packaging are “good for the earth.”

The NAD reviewed Blueland’s test reports and determined that its evidence did not provide a reasonable basis for cleaning-performance claims that its products “eliminated more grease and grime than leading comparable brands” and “outperformed the leading brands in efficacy tests completed at third party labs,” and therefore recommended that the claims be discontinued.

The NAD also recommended that Blueland discontinue the challenged comparative safety claims “all without harmful chemicals” and “we also don’t use traditional disinfecting ingredients (like chlorine bleach or quaternary ammonium compounds) that may be harmful if ingested, so not great for kitchen and dining surfaces.” The NAD stated that there was no evidence in the record indicating that, when used as directed, Blueland’s product is safer than Clorox or that Clorox’s product with “traditional disinfecting ingredients” is “not great for kitchen and dining surfaces” because it is likely to be ingested and cause harm.

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