Connecticut Attorney General William Tong says Hefty violated Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act by claiming their Hefty Recycling Bags were compatible with recycling facilities in Connecticut.
The lawsuit filed in Hartford Superior Court says the trash bags are not recyclable and any recyclable items inside them are tossed on the trash heap.
“Reynolds deceived Connecticut families and undermined our state’s recycling systems. Our lawsuit seeks to hold Reynolds accountable for these intentional misrepresentations,” Tong said Tuesday.
“At this time, we have not received any formal notice of a lawsuit from Attorney General Tong or the state of Connecticut regarding this matter and, therefore, are unable to comment,” the company said in an emailed statement.
“Recycling, and increasing the amount we recycle, is a major component of our State’s policy to sustainably reduce the amount of solid waste we dispose of,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “Placing recyclables in plastic bags results in those items being thrown away, which is completely counter to what we need to be doing, and the intent of those residents and businesses doing the right thing by recycling.”
Dykes said that contamination in the recycling system is costly, and the materials recovery facilities in the state have been clear that plastic bags in their mixed stream are detrimental and unsafe for their staff and their equipment, and can reduce the value of their commodities.
The back of the package says “Hefty Recycling Bags Are Perfect for All Your Recycling Needs,” and claims they are designed to handle all types of recyclables.
Tuesday’s action follows consumer concerns received by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection about these bags being improper for recycling.
Connecticut’s suit seeks damages, including disgorgement of profits, civil penalties, costs and attorneys’ fees, as well as non-monetary relief to prevent further deception, and harm to Connecticut consumers and our recycling systems.
Dykes reminded residents that just because an item is placed in a blue recycling bin doesn’t mean it will be or can be recycled.
Connecticut is struggling at the moment with its material recovery facilities. The trash-to-energy facility in Hartford’s South Meadows is scheduled to close this summer and all the towns that used it will most likely ship their trash out-of-state.
In the meantime, the state is looking to get food waste out of the trash stream and clean up the single-stream recycling so that the products have a better chance of getting recycled.