Nov 4 - Makers of So-called Bio-plastics Continue to Mislead


"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."

Already facing a lawsuit by the California Attorney General’s office for making false and misleading claims regarding the environmental attributes of their products, a spokesperson for the association representing the makers of the chemical additives is compounding their problems by falsely claiming the bottle makers made a 'deal' with California legislators.

In a statement to the media, a representative for ENZO, manufacturer of a chemical additive that is designed to allow plastic bottles to breakdown in landfill, claims SB 567 (Senator Mark DeSaulnier - Concord), a measure passed earlier this year to expand the California prohibition on the use of the term 'biodegradable' on plastic products, included a delay of implementation to allow research and development of a standard on biodegradability.

According to this article, PEC Chairman Robert McKnight responded to the lawsuit by stating, "The attorney general may not be aware of the timing that was agreed upon by her state legislature together with Californians Against Waste to allow completion of our currently ongoing R&D program."

Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, the group that sponsored SB 567, disagreed with PEC’s claim, calling the PEC's statements "misinformed and simply not accurate."

"The amendment delaying implementation of SB 567 to January 1, 2013, was a political accommodation with the lobbyist representing the Plastic Environmental Council in order to get them to remove their opposition to the bill. It was our understanding that the request for the delay was intended to allow time to clear shelves of mislabeled products."

The PEC recently announced a project with two universities to work on a standard specification for biodegradable plastic. But CAW noted that even with a standard specification for biodegradability, the misleading label is still prohibited by law.

As Murray further stated,

"There is unanimity of opinion among landfill engineers and environmentalists that biodegradation of plastics in landfills has zero environmental benefit. If biodegradation of plastics in landfills were to occur, it would result in the generation of methane pollution which landfills are required to control and capture. We remain opposed to attempts to market plastic products as ‘environmentally beneficial’ by virtue of any biodegradable attributes."

CAW strongly supports Attorney General Kamala Harris's efforts in challenging deceptive environmental claims that 1) mislead consumers who are trying to purchase a "greener" product, and 2) harm environmentally responsible companies who are doing the right thing and in compliance with law.

Read more in an article here.

Visit our website to learn more about CAW’s enforcement campaign against false environmental advertising. Support our work and sign up for email updates, or make a donation today.