A printer cartridge recycler is suing Amazon in federal court in California, alleging that the online retailer is ignoring deceptive green marketing around off-brand cartridges and the resulting plastic pollution from hundreds of millions of cartridges sold in the U.S. each year.
Planet Green Cartridges Inc.'s central complaint is economic — that the U.S. cartridge remanufacturing sector is being decimated by deceptive marketing on mostly imported inkjet cartridges on Amazon's website, with sellers falsely claiming the cartridges are made from recycled and remanufactured components.
But Chatsworth, Calif.-based Planet Green also alleges in the Aug. 14 lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles that by not policing the greenwashing, Amazon contributes to consumers having few effective reuse and recycling options, which increases plastic pollution.
It said an estimated 375 million printer cartridges wind up in U.S. landfills each year.
An Amazon spokesman said the company would not comment on pending litigation.
In a statement, Plant Green CEO Sean Levi said the plastic pollution problems from the cartridges is at odds with the mission of the Bezos Earth Fund, a $10 billion philanthropy formed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to fight climate change and preserve nature.
"Given Amazon's professed sustainability mission and Jeff Bezos' Earth Fund, one would expect Amazon to actively contribute to the solution, rather than perpetuate a substantial environmental challenge," Levi said. "I call on Jeff Bezos to lead the way and help bring back the printer cartridge remanufacturing industry which is the only solution for reducing printer cartridge plastic waste that is causing a detrimental effect on the environment."
The lawsuit, which also names companies selling the cartridges on Amazon, seeks an end to what it says are false marketing claims that the cartridges are made from remanufactured components when they're in fact newly made, and it wants "corrective advertising" to consumers.
It also seeks $500 million in damages from Amazon, which it said also markets and sells the illicit clone cartridges directly through its Amazon Warehouse Program.