Coca-Cola, Danone and Nestle have been accused of making misleading claims about their plastic water bottles being “100% recycled”.
A consumer body and two environmental groups have issued a legal complaint to the European Commission over the alleged greenwashing.
They argue that the bottles are never made wholly of recycled materials.
Coca-Cola said its packaging messages can be substantiated, while Danone said it is investing in recycling.
Nestle has yet to comment.
Companies are accused of greenwashing when they brand something as eco-friendly, green or sustainable when this is not the case. It can mislead consumers into thinking they are helping the planet by choosing those products.
The complaint to the European Commission focuses on claims by the companies that the single-use plastic water bottles they supply are either 100% recycled, or 100% recyclable.
The European Consumer Organisation, backed by the environmental groups Client Earth and ECOS, said this is misleading, particularly when accompanied by green imagery or branding.
They insist the bottles are never made wholly of recycled materials, and the ability to recycle them depends on a number of factors, including the available infrastructure.