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Hefty Recycling Bags Not Recyclable California Class Action

What do consumers expect of a trash bag that’s marketed as a recycling bag? The complaint for this class action alleges that reasonable consumers will expect such bags to be recyclable. However, Hefty Recycling Bags (offered by Reynolds Consumer Products, Inc. and Reynolds Consumer Products, LLC) are not recyclable. The complaint claims that statements made in connection with the bags amount to “greenwashing,” false advertising, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, among other things.

The class for this action is all persons who, between May 7, 2017 and the present, bought Hefty brand Recycling Bags in California.

According to the complaint for this class action, almost 90% of plastics are not recycled: “Indeed, over 12 million tons of plastic enters the ocean each year.” Many images have been shown of great swathes of plastic waste accumulating in the water. This has raised increasing concerns for consumers who don’t want to add to the mess.

Hefty makes plastic trash bags markets and label as Recycling Bags. The labeling claims they are “Perfect For All Your Recycling Needs” and “Designed to Handle All Types of Recyclables.” The complaint quotes the website as saying that “these transparent bags make it easy to sort your recyclables and avoid the landfill.” According to the complaint, reasonable consumers would take this to mean that the bags are recyclable as well.

“In truth,” the complaint claims, “the Hefty bags contaminate the recyclable waste stream, decrease the recyclability of otherwise recyclable materials, and are not recyclable because they are made from low-density polyethylene plastic (‘LDPE’ or ‘No. 4 plastic’).”

According to the complaint, recycling LDPE in the US is not cost-effective. Although the US previously sent such products for recycling in China, that country enact import restrictions that limit imports of plastic waste. Because of this, LDPE products normally are burned, are put in landfills, or end up in the environment.

Furthermore, municipal recycling facilities (MRFs) classify LDPE products as recycling contaminants, the complaint claims, “because they can clog up recycling equipment and reduce the value of otherwise recyclable plastics.” In fact, the complaint quotes a news article as saying that “[w]hen bagged items come through the sort line, [MRFs] throw [the entire bag] in the trash.” The complaint claims that the bags “are not only non-recyclable but … unsuitable for disposing of recycling.”

The Federal Trade Commission publishes Green Guides, or Guides for Use of Environmental Marketing Claims. The complaint quotes the Green Guides as saying it is “deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product or package is recyclable. A product or package should not be marketed as recyclable unless it can be collected, separated, or otherwise recovered from the waste stream through an established recycling program for reuse or use in manufacturing or assembling another item.”

The complaint refers to the misleading “recycling” claims for the bags as “greenwashing.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Hefty Recycling Bags Not Recyclable California Complaint

May 7, 2021

What do consumers expect of a trash bag that’s marketed as a recycling bag? The complaint for this class action alleges that reasonable consumers will expect such bags to be recyclable. However, Hefty Recycling Bags (offered by Reynolds Consumer Products, Inc. and Reynolds Consumer Products, LLC) are not recyclable. The complaint claims that statements made in connection with the bags amount to “greenwashing,” false advertising, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, among other things.

Hefty Recycling Bags Not Recyclable California Complaint

Case Event History

Hefty Recycling Bags Not Recyclable California Complaint

May 7, 2021

What do consumers expect of a trash bag that’s marketed as a recycling bag? The complaint for this class action alleges that reasonable consumers will expect such bags to be recyclable. However, Hefty Recycling Bags (offered by Reynolds Consumer Products, Inc. and Reynolds Consumer Products, LLC) are not recyclable. The complaint claims that statements made in connection with the bags amount to “greenwashing,” false advertising, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, among other things.

Hefty Recycling Bags Not Recyclable California Complaint
Tags: Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels, Greenwashing, Recyclable, Sustainability or Ecological/Environmental Claims