Keurig pays $ 3 million fine for falsely misleading claims about K CUP recycling

The Ottawa-Competition Bureau states that Keurig Canada will pay a $ 3 million fine for false or misleading claims that disposable K-Cup pods can be recycled.

In a statement Thursday, the agency said the company had voluntarily reached an agreement, including a $ 800,000 donation to an environmental charity and $ 85,000 for the competition bureau in this case, in addition to a fine.

Keurig reportedly agreed to settle a class action case in the United States last month on the same issue, but details of the settlement have not yet been released.

The company was investigated by the Competition Bureau for claims that consumers could recycle disposable plastic beverage pods if they removed the metal lid and emptied the contents such as coffee grounds.

However, Bureau has not widely accepted K-Cup recycling except in Quebec and British Columbia, and these instructions are not sufficient for many cities that may accept K-Cups in their recycling programs. Said.

In addition to the fine, Keurig Canada must change the package, publish notifications about the change to websites, social media, local and national media, and send the information in the package of the new Keurig brewing machine. Email to subscribers.

“It is illegal in Canada to describe a product or service as having more environmental benefits than it really is,” said Matthew Boswell, a member of the competition committee, in a statement.

“A false or misleading claim by a company to promote a’more environmentally friendly’product is a competition for consumers who are unable to make informed purchase decisions and who actually offer products with less environmental impact. And harm the company. “

Cynthia Shanks, Senior Director of Communication and Sustainability in Curig Canada, emailed three years ago that Curig switched pods to use the most commonly accepted types of plastic in Canada’s recycling program. I mentioned in.

But she said many still wouldn’t accept the K-Cup.

“We continue to work with local governments and the recycling industry to increase the acceptance of K-Cup pods for recycling, so we can share that pods are recyclable in specific communities and remind us of the proper recycling procedures. , Has evolved communication with consumers, “Shanks said.

“The agreement with the Canadian Competition Bureau has further strengthened communication to ensure that K-Cup pods are accepted by the municipal recycling program and, if so, to prepare the pods for recycling. Encourage consumers to review the additional steps required for. “

Competition law prohibits companies from making false or misleading claims about their products, including environmental claims. Five years ago, the Competition Bureau warned companies that “greenwashing” their products was illegal in Canada.

“Competition law covers environmental claims that are ambiguous, non-specific, incomplete, or irrelevant and cannot be supported by verifiable test methods,” the 2017 statement said.

Along Mia Loveson

Canadian press