ACCC appeals ‘flushable’ wipes decision

ACCC appeals Federal Court's decision to dismiss the consumer watchdog's case against Kimberly-Clark's flushable wipes.

The ACCC has appealed the Federal Court’s decision to dismiss part of the watchdog’s case against Kimberly-Clark which relates to claims it made to consumers about its Kleenex Cottonelle ‘flushable’ wipes.

The ACCC had alleged that in representing its products as ‘flushable’ on product packaging and its website, Kimberly-Clark had misled consumers about the suitability of its wipes to be flushed down the toilet.

In June, the court found Kimberly-Clark’s ‘flushable’ claims were not false or misleading.

ACCC chair Rod Sims said the ACCC was appealing the decision because it believes the court made an error in deciding whether it was misleading for Kimberly-Clark to represent that the Kleenex wipes were suitable to be flushed.

“We will argue on appeal that Kimberly-Clark’s flushable claims should have been found to be misleading because there was evidence of the risk of harm these wipes posed to the sewerage system, and that the trial judge was wrong to require evidence that these particular wipes had caused actual harm,” he said.

“The ACCC will also argue that the court made an error by rejecting the ACCC’s case that Kimberly-Clark had claimed the Kleenex Wipes would break up quickly like toilet paper when flushed.

“The ACCC is aware of problems continuing to be reported by Australian water authorities as a result of non-suitable products, such as wet wipes, being flushed down the toilet and contributing to blockages and other operational issues.”

A hearing for the appeal before the Full Federal Court will be set at a later date.

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