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‘Poop bag’ advert reprimanded by ASA

An advert for a dog ‘poop bag’ has been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), who said it was “misleading” and said claims it was biodegradable were not properly “substantiated”.

The ASA received a complaint relating to a product page for dog waste bags on www.ancol.co.uk, which featured text that stated “Refill Poop Bag Rolls… these thick waste bags are biodegradable to lessen your dog’s impact on the environment”. The complainant said they believed the material the bags were made from was not biodegradable as claimed.

Ancol Pet Products told the ASA that their bags were produced using a controlled-life plastic technology, which was added during the manufacturing stage of production of their bags. They stated that the material used converted everyday plastic products into materials which were biodegradable in the open environment.

Defra was consulted by the ASA to find out if the oxo-degradable plastics used in the bags were in fact biodegradable. Defra told the ASA “plastic fragments and smaller microplastics were left behind, which could have a harmful effect on the open environment, and in particular marine life”.

The advise from Defra led to the ASA to rule that the product was “not in line with how consumers were likely to interpret the term ‘biodegradable’”.

Due to a lack of evidence proving the product was biodegradable from Ancol, the ASA told Ancol “the ad must not appear again in its current form” and asked the company to “ensure that their future advertising did not mislead by making environmental claims unless they held adequate evidence to substantiate those claims”.

Ancol Pet Products contacted Pet Gazette to say they “object to the ruling made by the ASA and are seeking further advice” on the matter.

A company spokesperson said:  “We take this ruling very seriously, and pride ourselves on responsibly sourcing our products.

“As a family run business we are very aware of the environment and try to make positive contributions to helping the environment, one example of which is we installed solar panels to our warehouse and so now we are using only renewable energy in our day to day running of the business.”

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