ASA turns the screw on recycled bottle ads

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned two Lipton Ice Tea adverts for misleading consumers over the recyclability of the bottles.

A poster for Lipton Ice Tea seen on a bus shelter on August last year, featured headline text which stated “Deliciously refreshing, 100% recycled*”. The asterisk linked to small text at the bottom of the poster that stated “Bottle made from recycled plastic, excludes cap and label”. The ad included pack shots of two Lipton Ice Tea bottles, with a recycling logo and the text “I’m 100% recycled plastic” visible.

The ASA upheld the complaint. The qualification that the cap and label were not from recycled materials was too small and “could be overlooked”. It was also insufficient to counter the impression that all parts of the bottle were made from recycled content.

“Consumers would understand the claim “100% recycled*” alongside images of the bottle with the label and cap to mean that all components of the Lipton Ice Tea bottle (i.e. the bottle, cap and label) were made entirely from recycled materials,” ASA said in its ruling. The advert therefore breached the CAP Code and cannot appear again in the same form.

Pepsi Lipton International told The Grocer that the advert was “simply celebrating the plastic bottle is now made from 100% recycled PET”.

In December, ASA published new guidance to help businesses understand its rules concerning environment-related advertising. It is also conducting research into consumer perceptions of ‘carbon neutral’ and ‘net-zero’ claims, as well as launching enquiries into claims about waste – from plastic-free to recyclable – and food sustainability issues, including meat and dairy.

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