Advertising Standards Agency backs B&Q over recycling claims


Claims made by retailer B&Q over the recyclability of polystyrene have been supported by the Advertising Standards Agency.

Styropack UK challenged three claims made by B&Q about its new EasyGrow bedding plant packaging over traditional polythene.


In its submission to the Advertising Standards Agency, Styropack UK challenged the claims made in two videos (labelled (a) and (b) below) made for B&Q. These challenges were:

  1. “The old polystyrene bedding trays…can’t be recycled” in ad (a) misleadingly implied polystyrene could not be effectively recycled
  2. “Polystyrene can’t be recycled easily…: in ad (b) misleadingly implied polystyrene could not be effectively recycled; and
  3. “[polystyrene is] also believed to have a devastating effect on wildlife” in ad (b) could be substantiated

B&Q launched the its trademarked Teabag Technology easygrow packaging earlier this year that uses a coir-based biodegradable material that means the packaging can be planted straight into the ground with the plant. This replaces the polystyrene packaging that the plant and soil was previously in.

Secondary Commodity Markets 2015 – the conference for buyers and sellers of recyclable materials takes place on 3 March 2015 in London. Find out more here

In its response, B&Q acknowledged that while it was physically possible for polystyrene to be recycled, it explained that local authorities do not collect expanded polystyrene. It also said that while there were some manufacturers that provided a polystyrene collection service, there were only six in the UK as of 2014 and that for the average consumer, polystyrene was non-recyclable.

It also noted the effect of waste plastic materials on wildlife around the world from ingestion as a result of inadequate waste management on land.

On all three complaints made by Stypropack UK, the Advertising Standards Agency did not uphold any of them concluding that B&Q’s claims were “unlikely to mislead”.