Peters & Peters

ASA reprimands ELFBAR for making misleading advertising claims about the recyclability of its products


Key facts:

The ASA investigated 10 complaints about posters and digital billboard adverts for ELFBAR e-cigarettes. The complainants (which included Adfree Cities and Imperial Tobacco) challenged ELFBAR’s claims that its products were recyclable. They argued that the products being advertised were single use vapes and therefore not widely recyclable.

In response to the investigation, ELFBAR said that market research had shown that 70% of people threw away single-use vapes because they did not know they were recyclable. The intention behind its adverts had been to raise awareness that its vapes could be recycled, rather than making absolute claims about the environmental impact or recyclability of its products. ELFBAR recognised that the adverts could have been more specific about how vapes could be recycled and the company’s specific recycling initiatives.

The ASA found that ELFBAR’s adverts gave a misleading impression. In particular, consumers seeing the adverts would believe that if they purchased ELFBAR’s single use vapes, they would be able to recycle them through a range of different options, including home recycling. In fact, there were only limited recycling options for single use vapes.

The ASA told ELFBAR that the adverts must not appear again in the same form. It also told ELFBAR that it must ensure that its future adverts made the basis of environmental claims clear and did not mislead as to the environmental impact or benefit of its products.


ASA ruling

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