Reynolds Consumer Products is on the hook for nearly $4 million as part of settlement of a class action lawsuit aimed at the company's Hefty blue and clear bags marketed to hold recyclables.
The company agreed to settle claims the case in which plaintiffs alleged the company's recycling claims were misleading and the use of the bags actually prohibited recyclables from being, well, recycled.
The settlement also includes bags marketed under the Great Value name at Walmart stores. Reynolds denied the allegations in the case but decided to settle after two sessions of mediation.
Those who purchased the bags in question can receive $2 for each box, up to six boxes, without proof of purchase. They also can receive up to $50 in total if they provide proof of purchase beyond the initial six boxes and up to 25 boxes, according to the settlement. The products some in both 13 gallon and 30 gallon sizes.
Lawsuits filed in California and Florida by separate individuals were combined into the class action lawsuit filed in Illinois, where Reynolds is based. The two plaintiffs in those original lawsuits are eligible for a payment of $5,000 each out of the $3.985 million settlement. Attorneys involved in the case are eligible to receive up to $975,000 of the cash.
Plaintiffs alleged the bags made from low density polyethylene are not themselves recyclable, thus causing their contents to be treated as trash at solid waste facilities.
"Despite defendants' representations, the products are not made of recyclable material. The products are made from low density polyethylene and are not recyclable so they can't be recycled at any recycling facilities. Therefore, the products are not suitable for putting recyclable waste in them because the bags themselves are not recyclable," the class-action lawsuit alleged.
"When the products are delivered by waste haulers to a disposal facility the bags and all of the otherwise recyclable items contained within them are not delivered to a recycling facility but are treated as regular solid waste materials," the suit continued.
Those eligible for payment through the settlement must have purchased the bags between July 20, 2018, and Aug. 30, 2023.
Reynolds continues to face additional court action regarding recycling bags as attorneys general in both Connecticut and Minnesota have alleged deceptive marketing in the products.