Walmart Beats Greenpeace’s Recycling Lawsuit

Claims that retail giant Walmart Inc labels some of its plastic products as “recyclable” when the option is not available to most of its customers have been tossed by a federal judge in San Francisco.

On Monday, US District Judge Maxine Chesney dismissed claims by Greenpeace that Walmart violated California’s Unfair Competition Law by marketing and selling single-use plastic products. Greenpeace’s complaint argued that Walmart customers who bought plastic items, including plastic party cups, cutlery, and fruit snack cups, do not have access to recycling programmes that accept these items. 

Greenpeace filed the lawsuit back in December in California state court, with Walmart removing it to a federal court a month later. In March, Walmart moved to dismiss the suit, arguing that Greenpeace’s claims fail because it has no “lost money or property”, which is a key requirement to bring a lawsuit under the California Unfair Competition Law.

Although Judge Chesney dismissed Greenpeace’s claims, she said that it could choose to submit an amended complaint. 

In a statement, Greenpeace USA oceans campaign director John Hocevar said: Big brands know their customers are growing concerned about plastic pollution, but instead of addressing real solutions they have opted for greenwashing.”

A spokesperson for Walmart said that the company: “relies on labelling developed and validated by our suppliers and sustainability partners.” 

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