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

 

I Sing The Highway Electric: Charge Net NZ To Connect New Zealand

BMW is turning Middle Earth electric after today announcing a substantial contribution to the charging network Charge Net NZ. This landmark partnership will enable Kiwis to drive their electric vehicles (EVs) right across New Zealand through the installation of a fast charging highway stretching from Kaitaia to Invercargill. More>>

ALSO:

Watch This Space: Mahia Rocket Lab Launch Site Officially Opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast. More>>

Earlier:

Marketing Rocks!
Ig Nobel Award Winners Assess The Personality Of Rocks

A Massey University marketing lecturer has received the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics for a research project that asked university students to describe the “brand personalities” of three rocks. More>>

ALSO:

Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>

ALSO:

Half A Billion Accounts, Including Xtra: Yahoo Confirms Huge Data Breach

The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. More>>

ALSO:

Rural Branches: Westpac To Close 19 Branches, ANZ Looks At 7

Westpac confirms it will close nineteen branches across the country; ANZ closes its Ngaruawahia branch and is consulting on plans to close six more branches; The bank workers union says many of its members are nervous about their futures and asking ... More>>

Interest Rates: RBNZ's Wheeler Keeps OCR At 2%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate at 2 percent and said more easing will be needed to get inflation back within the target band. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news