Greenpeace takes Walmart to court over labeling of private label plastics

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Greenpeace takes Walmart to court over labeling of private label plastics

By Dan Ochwat - 01/05/2021

Greenpeace has filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court alleging that Walmart’s private brand plastic products and packaging are not recyclable as labeled and is asking for labels to be removed.

In a statement to Store Brands, Walmart denied the allegations and said it would defend the company. 

The suit claims that Walmart has employed unlawful, unfair and deceptive business practices by incorrectly labeling and advertising its private label plastic products and packaging as recyclable, but Greenpeace says they are not. The organization said Walmart has violated California consumer protection laws. 

“Walmart knows that its customers are concerned about single-use plastics, and has been using misleading labels that falsely claim packaging is recyclable when it is bound for an incinerator or landfill,” said Greenpeace oceans campaign director John Hocevar. “Until Walmart and other polluting corporations take responsibility for the damage their throwaway plastic is doing to our environment and our communities, the plastic crisis will continue to get worse. It is time for Walmart to end its reliance on single-use plastic and shift toward systems of reuse that truly address the pollution crisis.”

Greenpeace said the lawsuit points out close to a dozen examples of Walmart’s own brand products that were unqualified to be labeled as recyclable and cited Federal Trade Commission guidelines that a product or package can’t be marked as recyclable unless it can be collected, separated or recovered from the waste stream. 

“Walmart is a strong advocate for the environment, and we have set a goal to make our private brand packaging 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.  We previously reviewed these allegations and explained to Greenpeace that the product labeling complies with federal and state laws," Walmart's statement said. "Like many other retailers, we rely on labeling developed and validated by our suppliers and sustainability partners, including How2Recycle.  We deny Greenpeace’s allegations and intend to defend the company.”