Have you been buying “earth friendly” “biodegradable” baby wipes because you think they’re better for your baby and the environment?
Though some wipes may live up to their claims, those made by Earth’s Best and The Honest Co. don’t appear to be among them.
That’s why the law firm of Gutride Safier is investigating allegations that both companies falsely claim that the pre-moistened wipes they manufacture are “earth friendly” or “biodegradable” when in fact, they contain some plastic or other material that makes them incapable of biodegrading in the environment— definitely NOT “earth friendly!”
If you have purchased baby wipes sold by Earth’s Best and/or The Honest Co., please read this entire post and consider contacting Gutride Safier, as you may qualify to be a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit.
Disclosure: Gutride Safier has retained Big Green Purse to help inform consumers about this issue and let consumers know where to get more information. As always, our editorial opinions remain our own.
“Greenwashing” To Sell Baby Wipes
Many parents worry about the health and environmental impact of the use and disposal of baby wipes. Though disposable wipes can be very convenient, questions have been raised about the chemicals used to keep them moist and fragrant.
In addition, though some of the wipes are being marketed as “earth friendly” or “biodegradable,” it appears that the wipes under investigation are not made from earth friendly, biodegradable materials.
The wipes manufactured by Earth’s Best are made with polyester, a plastic composed of various chemical compounds typically derived from petroleum.
The Honest wipes are made from rayon. Although rayon is derived from cellulose (i.e., plant) fiber, allegedly neither polyester nor rayon are “biodegradable” because “they do not completely decompose into elements found in nature in a reasonably short time” after they’re thrown away.
If a product doesn’t biodegrade in a reasonable period of time once it’s thrown away, the Federal Trade Commission does not consider it biodegradable.
Independent Testing Supports “Greenwashing” Concerns
An independent lab analyzed the fibers in samples of both Earth’s Best Baby Wipes and Honest Wipes. Here are the results of the analyses:
Earth’s Best Baby Wipes (Made by the The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.)
- The wipes’ substrate is composed of 62.8% polyester, as well as .7% rayon. (Substrate is the foundation material used to make the wipes.) Polyester is a synthetic polymer that is essentially plastic. Neither polyester nor rayon are “biodegradable” because they do not completely decompose into elements found in nature in a reasonably short time after customary disposal.
Honest Wipes (Made by The Honest Co.)
- The wipes’ substrate is 100% rayon, which is not biodegradable as explained above.
Honest Co. has added a disclaimer to its packaging noting that the wipes will “biodegrade & compost in municipal/industrial facilities.”
What this actually means is that you cannot throw your wipes in your own compost pile because they will not degrade there. Furthermore, if you do not have access to municipal composting, you will still have to throw the wipes in the trash, where they will not biodegrade.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides have specifically advised marketers “not to make an unqualified degradable claim” like this one “unless they can prove that the entire product or package will completely break down and return to nature within one year after customary disposal.”
Since customary disposal for something like wipes is the trash, they don’t appear to meet the FTC’s green guidelines.
What Can You Do?
If you purchased baby wipes from The Honest Co. or Earth’s Best, you may qualify to participate in a class action lawsuit. You can visit Gutride Safier’s website to fill out a confidential online form that asks for your name, contact information, and occupation so you can obtain more information.
Filling out the form is free and does not obligate you to take any next steps. It merely indicates that you are as concerned about the greenwashing claims of the named companies as other consumers are. An attorney from Gutride Safier will get in touch with you. There is no cost to you.
Why Does A Class Action Suit Make A Difference?
A class action is a type of lawsuit in which one or more people sue on behalf of a larger group of people, referred to as “the class.” A class action saves courts time and allows a single judge to hear all the concerns at the same time, and to resolve claims for all similarly affected people. If the court agrees to certify the complaints as a class action, all class members will benefit from any judgments or settlements in their favor.
Class action lawsuits can be highly effective at getting offending companies to change their greenwashing practices. Often, a court order requires the defendant to stop the offending practice. The defendant may have to end a false advertising campaign, and could be ordered to change product labels to stop using certain misleading words or to include warnings or better disclosures to ensure the public will not be tricked again. Other times, the defendant may be ordered to provide a refund to class members. The attorneys at Gutride Safier will answer any questions you may have about false advertising claims and class actions.
If you purchased baby wipes from Earth’s Best or The Honest Co. because you believed they were biodegradable or earth friendly, and are dismayed to learn that they may be falsely advertised, take action by contacting Gutride Safier attorneys.
You will be legally represented at no cost to you, and if the lawsuit succeeds, you will play an important role in holding companies accountable for the green claims they make.
What If You Need to Use Baby Wipes?
I kept clean cloths in one leak-proof container (either a Ziplock plastic bag or a rinsed out plastic tub), and used cloths in another similar container.
If I did not anticipate being near water, I’d wet the clean wipes in advance. If I was changing my babies at home or in a restroom with a changing table, I simply moistened the cloths from the faucet, cleaned up the baby, and stowed the dirty cloths when I was done (rinsing them out in the toilet first if they were poopy).
These days, you can buy flannel and cotton baby wipes like these, or you can make your own by cutting soft flannel into 8×8 squares.
Moisten them with warm water from the sink or from a water bottle. I personally always applied a little protective ointment on my babies when I changed them, so don’t think the oils and fragrances in most wipes are really necessary.
Information about Gutride Safier
For more than a decade, Gutride Safier LLP has been a national leader in advancing the rights of individuals against powerful companies and government. Gutride Safier’s attorneys have successfully litigated class actions to achieve nationwide settlements involving dozens of products and industries and are currently litigating many others. Hundreds of millions of dollars in settlement benefits have been made available to consumers and small businesses in cases alleging consumer fraud, false advertising, and racketeering. Gutride Safier’s work can be viewed here.