On Wednesday, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris filed a lawsuit alleging that ENSO Plastics LLC, Balance and AquaMantra made false and misleading claims about the biodegradability and recyclability of plastic bottles manufactured by ENSO. Harris alleges that the companies engaged in “greenwashing,” or misleading consumers about environmental claims.

ENSO claims that it created the "first truly biodegradable and recyclable" plastic bottle through the use of a microbial additive and that its bottles are "100 percent biodegradable and recyclable."

The AG’s complaint contends that information on the bottles' labeling stating that the bottles will break down in less than five years in a landfill or compost environment is false because the additive does not speed up the break-down of the plastic. It also takes issue with the bottles being labeled as “recyclable” because, the complaint alleges, the microbial additive can actually impede the plastic recycling process. In addition to the false and misleading allegations, the press release points out that a 2008 California state law makes it illegal to label a plastic food or beverage container as “biodegradable,” “degradable” or “decomposable.”

Go here to read the press release from the Attorney General’s office.

Go here to read the complaint.