Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Misleading green claims on plastic bags cop fines

Misleading green claims on plastic bags cop fines

30 August 2013

A manufacturer of plastic rubbish bags has been fined $30,000 in the Auckland District Court for breaches of the Fair Trading Act in relation to environmental claims that were liable to mislead.

Pacrite Industries Limited pleaded guilty to ten charges in relation to claims about the oxo-biodegradability and environmental friendliness of its plastic rubbish bags, marketed as “Greensac” or “The Green One”. The claims were made on the bags themselves, the company’s website, in brochures provided to retailers and in media releases.

Pacrite claimed the bags, which contain an additive that makes them oxo-biodegradable, were better for the environment than conventional plastic bags, and its advertising stated or implied the bags would oxo-biodegrade in a landfill.

However, a Commerce Commission investigation found that while it is technically true that oxo-biodegradable plastic bags can break down in a laboratory the representation that the bags would undergo this process in the real world was liable to be misleading. This is because the bags, used for household rubbish, would predominantly end up in landfills and, once covered over, the vast majority of bags will not oxo-biodegrade because the process relies on sufficient oxygen to break down the bags.

In sentencing Pacrite today Judge Collins said traders who wish to market their products based on environmental advantages have a responsibility to ensure the product can live up to the claim.

Judge Collins said Pacrite’s whole branding was based on the product’s environmental advantage. He noted that although he did not know how many people bought the product because of the branding, environmental issues are increasingly important to society and consumers.

Commerce Commission Head of Investigations Ritchie Hutton said the Commission was pleased with the outcome.

“New Zealanders care about their environment and will be influenced by marketing claims of environmental benefits. It is important that consumers are able to rely on those claims and are not misled by untrue claims.”

“These rubbish bags are not markedly better for the environment than conventional bags. The only way that they can break down, as claimed by Pacrite, is if they are left lying around above ground, exposed to oxygen, or, potentially, if they remain in the surface layers at the landfill,” said Mr Hutton.

The bags are no longer being manufactured.

Background
The Fair Trading Act 1986 is designed to protect consumers and make competition more effective. If competition is to be effective, consumers need to be able to rely on the information provided by companies about the goods and services they offer.

False or misleading representations can distort competition and a competitive advantage can be gained by using unfair methods. The Commission is responsible for enforcing the Fair Trading Act. You can read more about the Fair Trading Act and environmental claims in our fact sheet http://www.comcom.govt.nz/environmental-claims/

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Sky City : Auckland Convention Centre Cost Jumps By A Fifth

SkyCity Entertainment Group, the casino and hotel operator, is in talks with the government on how to fund the increased cost of as much as $130 million to build an international convention centre in downtown Auckland, with further gambling concessions ruled out. The Auckland-based company has increased its estimate to build the centre to between $470 million and $530 million as the construction boom across the country drives up building costs and design changes add to the bill.
More>>

ALSO:

RMTU: Mediation Between Lyttelton Port And Union Fails

The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining. More>>

Earlier:

Science Policy: Callaghan, NSC Funding Knocked In Submissions

Callaghan Innovation, which was last year allocated a budget of $566 million over four years to dish out research and development grants, and the National Science Challenges attracted criticism in submissions on the government’s draft national statement of science investment, with science funding largely seen as too fragmented. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Spark, Voda And Telstra To Lay New Trans-Tasman Cable

Spark New Zealand and Vodafone, New Zealand’s two dominant telecommunications providers, in partnership with Australian provider Telstra, will spend US$70 million building a trans-Tasman submarine cable to bolster broadband traffic between the neighbouring countries and the rest of the world. More>>

ALSO:

More:

Statistics: Current Account Deficit Widens

New Zealand's annual current account deficit was $6.1 billion (2.6 percent of GDP) for the year ended September 2014. This compares with a deficit of $5.8 billion (2.5 percent of GDP) for the year ended June 2014. More>>

ALSO:

Still In The Red: NZ Govt Shunts Out Surplus To 2016

The New Zealand government has pushed out its targeted return to surplus for a year as falling dairy prices and a low inflation environment has kept a lid on its rising tax take, but is still dangling a possible tax cut in 2017, the next election year and promising to try and achieve the surplus pledge on which it campaigned for election in September. More>>

ALSO:

Job Insecurity: Time For Jobs That Count In The Meat Industry

“Meat Workers face it all”, says Graham Cooke, Meat Workers Union National Secretary. “Seasonal work, dangerous jobs, casual and zero hours contracts, and increasing pressure on workers to join non-union individual agreements. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news