Court dismisses ACCC's case against Woolworths over disposable picnic products

5 July 2019

The Federal Court has found that Woolworths’ environmental claims that its ‘Select eco’ range of disposable plates, bowls and cutlery were “biodegradable and compostable” were not false or misleading.

“We argued that Woolworths’ claims meant a consumer could reasonably expect the disposable products would decompose in landfills or domestic composting within a reasonable time,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“We took this case because we believed the representations were false or misleading and Woolworths did not have a reasonable basis to make these claims. We are carefully considering the Court’s judgment.”

“We will continue to take cases against businesses that we believe are making misleading environmental claims about their products,” Mr Sims said.

Background

The ACCC instituted proceedings against Woolworths in 2018.

Woolworths’ ‘Select eco’ bowls and plates are made of bagasse, a fibrous matter that remains after sugarcane or sorghum stalks are crushed to extract their juice.

Woolworths’ ‘Select eco’ cutlery are made of Crystallised Polylactic Acid (CPLA), which consists of a combination of fermented corn starch, chalk and other additives.

Guidance on environmental claims is published on the ACCC’s website: Your consumer rights: environmental claims

Release number: 
112/19
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