Keurig Canada reaches settlement after Canada’s Competition Bureau concluded Keurig K-Cup recycling claims were ‘misleading’
Variations in recycling capabilities across Canada has landed Keurig Canada in hot water | Photo credit: via Shutterstock
Keurig Canada has agreed to pay a CA $3m ($2.4m) penalty after Canada’s Competition Bureau concluded recycling claims made about Keurig K-Cup pods were 'misleading'.
An investigation by the Bureau found claims that the coffee pods could be recycled were 'false or misleading' due to variations in Canada's state recycling programmes, with the pods not widely accepted for recycling outside of the provinces of British Columbia and Quebec.
It also concluded that Keurig Canada gave a misleading impression that consumers could prepare coffee pods for recycling by peeling off the lid and emptying coffee grounds, whereas some local recycling programs require additional steps to recycle the pods.
In addition to the CA $3m settlement, Keurig Canada will donate CA $800,000 to Canadian charitable organisations focused on environmental causes. It will also pay CA $85,000 for the costs of the Bureau’s investigation, change its recyclability claims on K-Cup pods and publish corrective notices.
“Portraying products or services as having more environmental benefits than they truly have is an illegal practice in Canada. False or misleading claims by businesses to promote “greener” products harm consumers who are unable to make informed purchasing decisions, as well as competition and businesses who actually offer products with a lower environmental impact,” said Matthew Boswell, Commissioner of Competition.
The case is not the first time major coffee companies have found themselves in hot water over environmental coffee pod claims. In 2018, JBR Inc., which owns the San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee brand and Costco Wholesale, were ordered to pay $500,000
in legal penalties and costs by the state of California following a lawsuit regarding the mislabelling of ‘compostable’ coffee pods.