by Maggie Gainer, Zero Waste Humboldt

As consumers become more aware of the continued growth of single-use plastics in the global marketplace and the critical role plastic production and disposal play in global warming, we are vulnerable to misleading claims about recyclability and compostability on store shelves.

Lots of plastic packaging,
like this broth container,
cannot be recycled despite the packaging statement.

Zero waste and environmental organizations have shouted “Enough!”. and investigate misleading allegations, identify top culprits, and prosecute lawsuits. In 2018, Keurig was sued in a class action lawsuit over the recycling label on his coffee pods. In December 2020, Greenpeace sued Walmart for its misleading recycling labels on plastic packaging number 3-7. The latest campaign is aimed at TerraCycle, the figurehead for environmentally friendly marketing. The promotion focuses on the tricky packaging labels that TerraCycle brand partners use. Praised for its return packaging / mail-in programs, Terra Cycle’s strict participation restrictions prohibit most consumers from participating in their recycling programs.

The San Francisco-based Lexington Law Group is in charge of all three proceedings. It is Website, summarizes these 3 cases.

In a comment on the San Jose Mercury News last month, environmentalist Julie Packard pointed out that most US companies have suffered over the past year, but Big Oil single-use plastic production has continued to accelerate growth. “While we are learning more and more about the ubiquitous environmental problems with single-use plastic, the industry is making more of it than ever before. Of the 6.3 billion tons of plastic that people used and thrown away, only 9% was recycled. That number shows no sign of increasing. ”She also claims that once the growing evidence of the effects of plastic pollution on human health is fully assessed, it will be reformulated as an environmental justice issue.

What can we do?
1. Recognize that any multi-material packaging, regardless of the green label on the box, is DTR, or difficult to recycle. In the redwood coastal region, this generally means that it is rubbish. Do not use it to pollute your recycling container on the side of the road.

  1. Think about the old 3 Rs. Recycling is the last priority. Reuse systems have much less impact on the environment. Take over shopping habits with returnable bottles and your own containers, bags, bottles, boxes.
  2. If you need to use single-use packaging, look for non-plastics – paper and other fibers.
  3. Notify your local, state, and federal elected officials that plastic pollution is too serious to ignore. California and several states – led by Maine – have proposed or passed laws that make plastic pollution manufacturers pay.
  4. Join Zero Waste Humboldt’s public education efforts: [email protected]