Canadian Plastics

Judge dismisses Greenpeace recycling lawsuit against Walmart

Greenpeace didn’t have grounds to sue under California law, the judge ruled.

September 22, 2021   Canadian Plastics

A California court has dismissed a legal complaint brought against Walmart by Greenpeace, ruling that the environmental advocacy group lacked standing to file the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed in December 2020, charged that Walmart’s private label plastic packaging, particularly those made from PVC, polystyrene and polypropylene, was improperly labeled as recyclable and could not be accepted at the majority of recycling facilities.

On Sept. 20, U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that Greenpeace itself was not deceived by labels indicating that Walmart’s plastic packaging is recyclable. “[N]othing in the [complaint] suggests Greenpeace engaged in its investigation in reliance on a belief that the statements on which it bases its claims were true; rather, the [complaint] alleges the action taken by Greenpeace was in response to its belief that the challenged statements were false; in other words, Greenpeace was never misled,” she ruled.

Because it wasn’t misled, Greenpeace didn’t have grounds to sue under California law, the judge ruled.

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Walmart had responded in court to the lawsuit in April and June, arguing that the packaging is not incorrectly labeled, and that Greenpeace was not personally deceived by the packaging labels. “We are pleased the court dismissed this baseless lawsuit,” Walmart said. “We previously reviewed these allegations and explained to Greenpeace that the product labeling complies with federal and state laws. Like many other retailers, we rely on labeling developed and validated by our suppliers and sustainability partners, including How2Recycle.”


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