Walmart will pay $875,000 in civil penalties as part of a settlement in a California consumer protection case alleging the retail chain sold plastic products that were misleadingly labeled as environmentally friendly.
The action was filed in Napa County by 23 district attorney’s offices in California, including Fresno.
The case claimed Walmart was distributing items falsely labeled “biodegradable” or “compostable” in violation of California law.
In addition to the civil penalties, Walmart agreed to pay an additional $50,000 to CalRecycle to fund the testing of plastic products marketed as compostable or degradable. Also, Walmart subsidiary Jet.com agreed to pay $15,000 in civil penalties.
“Plastic waste can take up to a thousand years to decompose, depending on the environment in which it is disposed, and a growing number of marketers have sought to promote the sale of plastic products using misleading claims of biodegradability,” Fresno County District Attorney Lisa A. Smittcamp said Tuesday in a news release.
“Many Californians choose products based on these claims, despite the fact that landfills are oxygen-poor and thus tend to mummify products, rather than allow them to biodegrade.”
Walmart and Jet.com did not admit liability as part of the settlement.