Not All Objects Labeled as “100% Recyclable” Must be Recycled, Court Finds
Last month we reported on Curtis v. 7-Eleven, in which the Northern District of Illinois held that marking products as “recyclable” when they may not, as a practical matter, be recycled did not constitute consumer fraud because the fact that the material is capable of being recycled is not false or misleading. This month, the Northern District of California came to the same conclusion. In David Swartz, et al., v. The Coca-Cola Company, et al., No. 21-cv-04643 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 18, 2022), the Honorable James Donato of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss claims brought against defendants Coca-Cola, Blue Triton Brands, and Niagara Bottling (collectively the “Defendants”) by plaintiff individuals and Sierra Club (“Plaintiffs”). Plaintiffs filed a complaint against Defendants alleging violations of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, False Advertising Law, and Unfair Competition Law, and that such violations constitute fraud, deceit, and/or misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation. Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged that the “100% recyclable” labels on single-use plastic bottles supplied by the Defendants were false and misleading because most plastic bottles are not recycled and instead end up in landfills or incinerators due to a lack of recycling capacity and a lack of demand for recycled plastics.