People of the State of California v. Endo Plastics, LLC

Date: April 8th, 2013

Topic: Greenwashing

Type: Lawsuit vs. Private Actors

Jurisdiction: California

Citation: People of the State of California v. Endo Plastics, LLC, No. 30-2011-00518091-CU-MC-CJC (Cal. Super. Ct. 2011)

In 2011, California brought what appears to be the first ever “greenwashing” suit. The case alleged that two companies, Balance and AquaMantra, sold water bottles marketed by Endo Plastics. Enso claimed that a microbial material in the bottle made it the first ever biodegradable plastic water bottle. According to the Attorney General, the biodegradable claim as false and misleading. First, the suit alleged that the bottles did not, as advertised, break down in landfills within five years. Moreover, the additive in the bottles meant that were not recyclable in traditional recycling systems. California claimed the companies violated the California Business and Professions Code and Federal Trade Commission’s Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims. The parties reached a comprehensive settlement in 2013. The agreement had small monetary penalties ($18,000) but more significant injunctive relief surrounding future marketing notices on California products.

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