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Developments in packaging: a legislative overview.

two decisions can impact nonwovens

There have been two recent developments in Washington D.C. that can have a direct impact on nonwovens or diaper packaging. One was a decision by the National Classification Committee (NCC) of the National Motor Freight Traffic Association regarding nonwoven roll goods, while the other was a review by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of its "green" advertising guidelines.

The NCC - an organization that has broad authority for setting transportation standards for goods transported by trucking companies - had been considering a proposal that would require all nonwoven roll goods to be packaged in plastic wrap that was at least five mils thick prior to shipment on the nation's highways. The proposal was based on claims by certain trucking firms that larger/heavier rolls of nonwoven fabrics were being damaged in transport and that a requirement for thicker plastic wrap would solve the problem.

INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, protested the NCC proposal and developed data to demonstrate that there was no significant damage associated with the transportation of nonwovens. Last November, at a meeting in Washington D.C., the NCC reviewed INDA's data and agreed that the proposal should not be adopted. For the time being, therefore, there will be no additional packaging requirements for nonwoven roll goods.

As for the advertising review, the FTC - the federal agency with jurisdiction over consumer advertising - announced late last year that it had concluded a scheduled review of its green advertising guidelines and determined that no substantive changes were needed. The guidelines were originally drafted in 1992 and are intended to provide a safe harbor for those who wish to advertise the environmental attributes of their products. By following the guidelines, marketers and manufacturers can avoid enforcement actions from the federal government for advertising the impact that their products will have on the environment. Copies of the guidelines are available from the FTC in Washington D.C. and readers should note that several state governments have adopted their own laws on the issue of environmental advertising.

INDA had commented on the FTC guidelines when they were originally drafted and again last year as they were being updated. INDA was generally pleased and suggested that no major changes be included in the revised version. INDA did request, however, that the FTC stay abreast of standardization efforts that were underway regarding compostability and degradability. INDA noted that the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) has been working on projects in both areas and, if standards are developed, recommended that the FTC allow marketers to cite those standards in their advertising. The FTC agreed with INDA on this point, to a certain extent, and noted in its revisions that it would continue to monitor the issue. No further revisions have been scheduled.
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Title Annotation:disposable baby diapers
Author:Mayberry, Peter
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:Cover Story
Date:Feb 1, 1997
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