The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has initiated legal proceedings against Clorox Australia in relation to misleading representations on its kitchen and rubbish bags.

The regulator alleges that the company falsely claimed its GLAD kitchen and rubbish bags contained 50% recycled ‘ocean plastic’.

The ACCC contends that the bags were made from plastic collected up to 50km from the Indonesian shoreline, not directly from the ocean.

ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said: “We allege that the headline ‘ocean plastic’ statements and wave imagery on the GLAD bag packaging, and the use of blue coloured bags, created the impression that these GLAD bags were made from plastic waste collected from the ocean or sea, when this was not the case.

“We are concerned that, by its alleged conduct, Clorox deprived consumers of the opportunity to make informed purchasing decisions, and may have put other businesses making genuine environmental claims at an unfair disadvantage.”

Clorox’s GLAD Kitchen Tidy Bags and Garbage Bags, available between June 2021 and July 2023, were marketed with the assertion that they were made using 50% ocean plastic.

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However, the ACCC alleges this plastic was sourced from areas far from the ocean, contrary to the product’s packaging claims.

The products in question have since been withdrawn from the market in July 2023.

Subsequent updates included a shift in wording to ‘ocean bound plastic’ and clarifications regarding the collection of this plastic from communities lacking formal waste management systems.

The ACCC’s action seeks various remedies, including declarations, penalties, and injunctions.

Clorox, a supplier of consumer goods, is now under scrutiny following the ACCC’s recent enforcement actions and guidance on environmental claims.

Last year, yoghurt manufacturer MOO Premium Foods agreed to remove all ‘ocean plastic’ claims from its business following the ACCC’s investigation.