Coca-Cola and Nestle Accused of Lying About Recycled Bottles

( – European regulators and a consumer advocacy organization are criticizing major beverage companies that use plastic bottles in their packaging for their claims about being eco-friendly.

Danone, Nestle, and Coca-Cola stand accused of misleading consumers with marketing claims on their packaging that the plastic bottles are composed of 100% recycled materials.

Complainants say that it’s impossible to use recycled materials exclusively and accuse the companies of “green-washing.” That’s the practice of overstating or outright deceptively claiming that your company is more eco-friendly than it is to hook consumers who want to protect the environment with their purchase power.

The complaint specifically targets claims that bottles are 100% recycled or 100% recyclable. The European Consumer Organisation will investigate the complaints by Client Earth and ECOS, two advocacy groups.

Rosa Pritchard is a lawyer for Client Earth. She said that there’s plenty of evidence that plastic water bottles are not recycled in Europe. She further pointed out that recycled bottles are still an environmental threat and accused companies of using recycling as a “silver bullet.”

Coca-Cola said they are constantly attempting to reduce the amount of plastic in their packaging and continue to invest in recycling, recycling as much plastic as they put out. They said that any claims on their products can be substantiated and they put them there to help consumers make “informed choices.”

Nestle representatives said that they reduced virgin plastic in their packaging by 10.5% since 2018 and are aiming to reduce it by a third by 2026.

If commissioners find the complaint is valid they can recommend a number of regulatory responses in European nations. The organization is dependent on individual member nations and their consumer protection bodies to enforce policy.

Some possible corrections include fines or asking the company to change its practices to maintain access to the market of a particular country. The commission can’t issue or enforce penalties on its own.

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