Fed court suspends Greenpeace plastic lawsuit against Walmart

A federal judge in California has denied a lawsuit brought by Greenpeace against Walmart Inc. for labeling plastic recycling.

U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney ruled September 20 that the environmental group had no authority to file the lawsuit, arguing that Walmart’s own-brand plastic packaging, particularly PVC, polystyrene and polypropylene packaging, was improperly labeled as recyclable.

Walmart, based in Bentonville, Ark., Said its packaging complies with applicable federal and state laws.

“We are pleased that the court has dismissed this unsubstantiated complaint,” said the company. “We checked these allegations beforehand and told Greenpeace that the product labeling complies with federal and state laws.”

“Like many other retailers, we rely on labels that have been developed and validated by our suppliers and sustainability partners, including How2Recycle,” the company said.

However, Greenpeace said in a statement that the court dismissed the case on technical grounds and reviewed its legal options.

The lawsuit was originally filed in Alameda County California State Court in December but has been moved to San Francisco Federal Court.

John Hocevar, Greenpeace USA ocean campaign director, said that despite the court ruling, a new law passed in California in early September will put pressure on Walmart and other companies to change the way packaging is labeled for recyclability.

“It seems that Walmart will continue to mislead customers about plastic recycling until the law forces them to stop,” he said. “Fortunately, that day is coming soon. SB 343 [Senate Bill 343] will end this type of greenwashing in California and national legislation will soon follow. “

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