Greenpeace is suing Walmart for deceptive product labels

The Advocacy Group claims that Walmart’s product packaging is misleading consumers.

Greenpeace has filed a lawsuit against Walmart in California’s Alameda County Superior Court, accusing the national retailer of falsely labeling items as recyclable when they are actually made of plastic that cannot be reused. The filing concerns Walmart’s plastic packaging recycling labels # 3-7 and includes examples such as applesauce, fruit and yogurt cups. The How2Recycle identifiers for these products are misleading as they “lead consumers to believe that products will be recycled in the US despite the small capacity to recycle these materials”.

The lawsuit adds, “In their rush to lure customers into environmentally friendly products and packaging, defendants are making false, misleading, and misleading claims about environmental marketing.” The advocacy group insists that Walmarts Marketing is violating California consumer protection laws, including the California Environmental Marketing Claims Act (EMCA), and is seeking to get the retailer to change their labeling and run a “corrective advertising campaign”.

Photo by Lucas van Oort on Unsplash

Greenpeace campaign leader John Hocevar said: “Walmart knows its customers are concerned about single-use plastics and uses misleading labels that falsely claim that packaging is recyclable when it is destined for an incinerator or landfill. Until Walmart and other polluting companies take responsibility for the damage their disposable plastic does to our environment and our communities, the plastic crisis will only deepen. It is time for Walmart to end its reliance on single-use plastics and move to recycling systems that really address the pollution crisis. “

A Walmart spokesman replied, “We previously examined these allegations and told Greenpeace that product labeling complies with federal and state laws. Like many other retailers, we rely on labels developed and validated by our suppliers and sustainability partners, including How2Recycle. We deny Greenpeace’s allegations and intend to defend the company. “Walmart also said it has plans to switch its own brand to packaging that is 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

“First of all, the small print is a 2-point font that makes it difficult for consumers to notice it and still read it alone,” says the complaint. In addition, Greenpeace cites previous cases by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) where the “check locally” disclaimer was found to be incorrect.

The complaint provides general data on the harmful effects of non-recyclable plastics on the environment in recent years: “Over the past decade, people around the world have produced 8.3 billion tons of plastic, most of it in single-use products and packaging, which ultimately end up as garbage or pollution. Of the 8.3 billion tons produced, 6.3 billion tons became plastic waste and only 9% of it was recycled. A third of the single-use plastic produced ends up in the natural environment, causing 100 million tons of plastic pollution in 2016. Current estimates assume that there are over 150 million tons of plastic in the ocean. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans alone disposed of more than a million tons of plastic in 2014, most of which was not recycled. While California had a goal of achieving a 75% recycling rate by 2020, California’s recycling rate is actually declining. “

The advocacy group believes that a major contributor to this decline is labeling, which is essentially leading consumers to believe that when the products they buy are actually making matters worse, they are helping.


The lawsuit is against Walmart’s plastic recycling labels

Greenpeace Inc. is suing Walmart for misleading recycling labels on its plastic products and packaging

Greenpeace complaint against Walmart

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