Retail giant Costco and a Northern California coffee company will jointly pay $500,000 in civil penalties after a superior court judge’s ruling settled a consumer protection action, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office said Monday.
JBR Inc. of Roseville, which does business as San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee and the Rogers Family Company, drew the action after biodegradability and compostability claims on labels for its plastic coffee pods came into question. Costco had been selling JBR’s coffee pods.
” California consumers trying to help reduce the problem of plastic waste in landfills are often misled to believe that plastic products labeled as ‘biodegradable’ will break down in municipal trash,” District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said in a statement. “But most landfills prevent biodegradation. In order to prevent misleading consumers, the Legislature banned the sale of plastic products labeled with language implying they will biodegrade.”
Plastic coffee pods sold by San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee and the plastic bags they came in were labeled “97% biodegradable” and “biodegradable,” despite a legal ban on such products’ sale, as well as compostable without meeting standards.
By By George Kelly, East Bay Times
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