The ACCC has approved OxoPak Pty Ltd’s application for a certification trademark for certain biodegradable plastics after substantial changes were made to it to address concerns raised by the ACCC.
The approved OxoPak mark certifies that plastic bags and other packaging materials meet specified standards of oxo-biodegradability. The mark is intended to be used on plastic products that are recyclable or, if they do end up in the environment as litter, are oxo-biodegradable.
“The ACCC recognises the considerable weight many consumers place on environmental claims and trademarks, which can act as powerful marketing tools,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.
“We believe that the amended certification standards are consistent with what the mark conveys to consumers about a product’s environmental credentials.”
In November 2018, the ACCC issued an initial assessment proposing not to approve this mark, as well as three other related certification trademarks that made references to food safety, marine-life safety and zero land waste properties.
OxoPak then withdrew the three related marks and substantially revised the rules for the remaining mark for biodegradable plastic.
“After OxoPak withdrew the three other marks and made substantial changes to the rules governing the remaining mark, we are now comfortable that it correctly conveys to consumers that the plastic packaging bearing the mark meets specified standards of oxo-biodegradability.”
The ACCC’s final assessment statement of reasons will be published on the consultation hub.
The ACCC has a role in assessing and approving rules for the use of a certification trademark, including examining whether consumers are likely to be misled. As part of its assessment, the ACCC examines the rules to ensure they are not to the detriment of the public, or likely to raise any concerns relating to competition, unconscionable conduct, unfair practices, product safety and/or product information.
The approved OxoPak certification trademark is illustrated below.