A federal judge in California has rejected a lawsuit Greenpeace filed against Walmart Inc. over plastic recycling labeling.
U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney Sept. 20 ruled that the environmental group lacked standing to file the lawsuit, which argued that Walmart's private label plastic packaging, particularly those made from PVC, polystyrene and polypropylene, was improperly labeled as recyclable.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart said its packaging complies with applicable federal and state laws.
"We are pleased the court dismissed this baseless lawsuit," the company 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," the company said.
But Greenpeace said in a statement that the court dismissed the case on a technicality, and said it was reviewing its legal options.
The lawsuit was originally filed in California state court in Alameda County in December but was moved to federal court in San Francisco.
John Hocevar, Greenpeace USA oceans campaign director, said that in spite of the court ruling, a new law passed in California in early September will put pressure on Walmart and other companies to change how they label packaging for recyclability.
"It appears Walmart is going to continue misleading 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 kind of greenwashing in California, and nationwide legislation is soon to follow."