| US

US firms in hot water over compostable coffee pod labelling

San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee owner, JBR Inc. and Costco Wholesale will jointly pay $500,000 in legal penalties and costs following a lawsuit regarding the labelling of ‘compostable’ coffee pods

The complaint was brought by 25 district attorneys in the state of California, which claimed the single serve coffee product breached California labelling rules. The US state prohibits any recycling claims by products that contain plastic and states ‘compostable’ labelling must be backed by certified scientific evidence.

Unveiled last year for distribution via Costco, San Francisco Bay’s ‘No Waste OneCup’ pods were labelled ’97 percent biodegradable’ and ‘No Plastic Cup.’ The lawsuit revolved around the use of a plant-based plastic mesh and ring in the pods and a breach of state rules regarding compostability. While the pods were certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) for commercial or industrial composting facilities, complainants argued they were not certified for home composting and therefore misleading.

“California consumers trying to help reduce the problem of plastic waste in landfills are often misled to believe that plastic products labelled as ‘biodegradable’ will break down in municipal trash,” said Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley.
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