The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court, Melbourne, against Lloyd Brooks Pty Ltd alleging misleading and deceptive conduct in claiming the environmental benefits for its range of Earthstrength plastic kitchen, garbage and freezer bags.

Earthstrength's plastic bags are distributed nationally to retailers such as Coles supermarkets, Bi Lo supermarkets, K-mart Woolworths and Safeway supermarkets; and IGA supermarkets.

Lloyd Brooks Pty Ltd makes environmental claims on the packaging of its range of Earthstrength plastic bags such as:

  • 46,000 pieces of plastic float in every square mile of the ocean, this won't be one of them
  • even if this bag isn’t thrown in the bin, it wont end up as litter and
  • this bag won’t contribute to the landfill problem.  It will make it disappear.

Lloyd Brooks also stated on its Earthstrength's website that:

  • Earthstrength Bags however, compost just like kraft paper bags, sticks and twigs, yard trimmings and food scraps which are quickly broken down by microbial activity into harmless methane, hydrogen and oxygen. When composted the bags biodegrade in 28 days.

Further, Lloyd Brooks claims that its Earthstrength bags "are made from proprietary technology using tapioca starch which has been scientifically proven to biodegrade and compost in municipal and commercial composting operations, as well as in waterways and landfill setting.”

The ACCC alleges that Lloyd Brooks represents that its Earthstrength bags have performance characteristics and/or benefits that they do not have and are likely to mislead the public as to the nature and/or characteristics of Earthstrength bags. 

The ACCC is seeking court orders against Lloyd Brooks Pty Ltd, including: declarations; injunctions; corrective advertising; refunds; orders relating to the implementation of a trade practices compliance program and costs.

A directions hearing has been set down for 21 April before Justice Susan Crennan.