The grocery section at a Walmart
Photograph by Chris Hondros — Getty Images
By Lucinda Shen
February 2, 2017

Wal-Mart Stores and Jet.com have agreed to pay $940,000 to settle claims that it sold plastic products wrongly labeled as “biodegradable” or “compostable.”

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office in California released a press release Wednesday, stating Walmart agreed to pay $875,000 in civil penalties and another $50,000 to fund the testing of products marketed as biodegradable or compostable. Jet.com, a Walmart subsidiary, has also agreed to pay another $15,000 in penalties.

 

“Unfortunately, Californians concerned with reducing plastic waste in landfills are commonly misled to purchase plastic bags and other plastic products based on marketers’ unsubstantiated claims of biodegradability,” said District Attorney O’Malley in a statement.

California law forbids the label of “biodegradable” on plastic unless it comes with a disclaimer on how long it will take for the product to degrade in a landfill. The state also doesn’t allow the sale of plastic items labeled “compostable” unless it meets certain scientific standards.

“We are pleased to resolve this matter with the California District Attorneys and are appreciative of them as they have worked with us on this issue. Sustainability is a priority for us, and we have been recognized as a retail leader in this space,” a representative from Walmart told Fortune in a statement. “We’re proud of the enhancements we have made to help ensure that the products we sell to California customers are in line with the State’s guidance on biodegradable labeling.”

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