Class Action Alleges Hefty “Greenwashing” in the Marketing of Non-Recyclable Recycling Bags
According to a recent class action lawsuit, Hefty manufacturers are taking advantage of consumers’ desire to purchase environmentally friendly products by failing to disclose that their recycling bags are harmful to the environment and cannot be recycled.
In a California federal court on Friday, plaintiff Lisabeth Hanscom filed a class action lawsuit against Hefty manufacturers Reynolds Consumer Products Inc. and Reynolds Consumer Products LLC.
In the advertisement, promotion, and selling of the companies’ Hefty brand recycling bags, Hanscom claimed that they engaged in unethical, unfair, and fraudulent business practices.
According to Hanscom, as more people become aware of the issues associated with plastic pollution, more people are actively searching out compostable or recyclable goods. She argued that the defendants advertise the Hefty plastic garbage bags as “recycling” bags in order to capitalize on this consumer demand.
On the back of the label, the brand states that “Hefty Recycling Bags are Perfect For All Your Recycling Needs.” In addition, their marketing also claims that the bags “make it easy to sort your recyclables and avoid the landfill.”
As per the class action, “Reasonable consumers understand this to mean that the Products are suitable for disposing of recyclable waste and are, in fact, recyclable.”
“Recycling” Bags Gone Wrong
In addition to the claims, recyclable waste is sorted and sold to facilities that can refine it into clean material that can be sold and used to manufacture new plastic products.
However, processing Hefty plastic bags domestically is not cost-efficient, and the international demand for that kind of plastic has all but vanished in recent years, as per the class action.
Hanscom argued that the companies are aware that their goods are usually disposed of in landfills or incinerated and that they are a contaminant inappropriate for recycling. This proves that their claims that the bags are “recycling” bags are “material, false, misleading, and likely to deceive members of the public.”
The Class Action
Plaintiff Lisabeth Hanscom is looking to represent each California consumer who purchased the bags due to believing that they are “recyclable.” At the same time, she is seeking an injunction to prevent the bags from being sold until the marketing is changed and damages, interest, fines, expenses, and a jury trial are processed.
The class action is being brought under California Consumer and Business Laws for Fraud, Deception, or Misrepresentation, as well as the California Environmental Marketing Claims Act for Greenwashing.
Editor’s Note on Hefty Recycling Bags Class Action Lawsuit:
This article is published to inform you of the recent class action lawsuit filed against Hefty manufacturers Reynolds Consumer Products Inc. and Reynolds Consumer Products LLC. The plaintiff claimed that they are taking advantage of consumers’ desire to purchase environmentally friendly products.
Case Name & No.: Lisabeth Hanscom et al., v. Reynolds Consumer Products Inc. and Reynolds Consumer Products LLC, Case No. 4:21-cv-03434, in the U.S. District Court Northern District of California
Products/Services: Hefty plastic garbage bags
Allegations: The defendants falsely advertised their Hefty plastic garbage bags as “recycling” bags in order to capitalize on the consumer demand
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