Ads claiming plastic grass is eco-friendly not allowed, says ASA | Advertising

Ads claiming plastic grass is ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘purifies’ the atmosphere are to be removed after the Advertising Standards Authority upheld the greenwashing complaints.

The ASA confirmed concerns that adverts claiming artificial turf produced by Evergreens UK Ltd were environmentally friendly were unfounded and misleading. The product was plastic, the ASA said, and given its full life cycle, it “had a negative impact on the environment.”

The ASA was asked to review three advertisements for Evergreens’ AIR range, which the company claims has been treated with a product called PURETi, a titanium dioxide (TiO2)-water-based photocatalytic surface treatment.

The brand has claimed in promotional material that the range is environmentally friendly and that following treatment the herb is “capable of reducing up to 70% of harmful NOx” from the air.

An advertisement claimed that “1m2 of grass treated with AIR is comparable to the air-purifying effects of a mature tree”.

The ASA reviewed the evidence presented by the company, which included a brochure for artificial turf sports pitches with extracts from a lab report. He concluded that the observed NOx reduction was significantly less than the 70% reduction claimed in the advertisements. He concluded that the allegations in both cases were unsubstantiated and misleading.

“Ads must no longer appear in the offending form,” the ASA said in its ruling on Wednesday. “We asked Evergreens UK Ltd to ensure that their advertising did not exaggerate the environmental benefits and air purifying qualities of their products.”

The advertising body said the evidence put forward did not take into account the full life cycle of the product.

“The artificial turf was plastic,” the ASA said. “We considered that, even if it was transported efficiently and recycled at the end of its life cycle, the extraction of raw materials and the subsequent processing of these materials in order to produce the artificial turf had a negative impact on the environment.”

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Gardener and campaigner Charlotte Howard, who complained about the adverts, said: ‘It was total greenwashing and I’m glad those claims can no longer be made. I really hope this will start to put an end to the claims of artificial turf companies greenwashing.

The Guardian has contacted Evergreens UK Ltd for comment.

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