Pollock Cohen LLP is investigating greenwashing claims, and potential legal actions on behalf of consumers who have purchased misleadingly marketed dog or pet waste bags.
Companies are tapping into genuine and growing enthusiasm for environmentally sustainable products by marketing their products as “recyclable,” “biodegradable,” or “compostable.” Consumers seek and often pay more for these products, based on the belief that the products offer positive environmental impacts. Yet some companies are taking advantage of consumer preference for sustainable products. According to one investigation, 40% of “green” claims made on websites may be misleading. Misleading claims that advertise a product as environmentally friendly may incentivize consumers to purchase products they would not have otherwise purchased.
Many dog or pet waste bags—poop bags—are marketed as being “compostable.”
But the United States Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has warned that such pet waste bags being labeled “compostable” may be deceptive. As stated on the FTC’s webpage: “dog waste is generally not safe to compost at home, and very few facilities accept this waste. Therefore, compostable claims for these products are generally untrue.”
In reality, the bags themselves are often only compostable at a commercial facility (not at home). Yet the vast majority of commercial composting facilities do not accept pet waste—meaning that buyers cannot throw the bags with pet waste into the compost. For example, the New York City Department of Sanitation does not accept “[a]nimal waste” in its curbside composting program. The same can be said for most composting programs across the nation.
And even where a compostable pet waste bag is certified to be home compostable, composting pet waste at home is often unadvisable without access to proper heating conditions and added materials—due to the potential for parasites and other pathogens to contaminate the compost. For this reason, compost made with dog waste should not be used on soil that will grow food, and many places instruct pet owners to simply dispose of pet waste in the garbage.
If you have purchased a pet waste bag marketed as “compostable,” you may be able to take legal action. We are interested in hearing from consumers who have purchased relevant products, and anyone else who has knowledge of misleading marketing or labeling, including business competitors. Call (929) 229-4024 or email us at email@example.com for a free, confidential consultation.