Coffee drinkers who think they’re being environmentally friendly by using Keurig coffee pods have been misled.
The Competition Bureau says Keurig Canada will pay a $3 million penalty for making false or misleading claims that its single-use K-Cup pods can be recycled.
The regulator, tasked with investigating deceptive business practices in Canada, found that the K-Cup pods are not widely accepted in municipal recycling programs outside of British Columbia and Quebec.
Keurig Canada to pay $3 million penalty to settle our concerns over coffee pod #recycling claims: https://t.co/POt3MJVXjY pic.twitter.com/d2Q6IXhs4X
— Competition Bureau Canada (@CompBureau) January 7, 2022
According to a news release on Thursday, Keurig Canada agreed to pay the fine, donate $800,000 to an environmental charity, and pay an additional $85,000 for the cost of the bureau’s investigation.
“Portraying products or services as having more environmental benefits than they truly have is an illegal practice in Canada,” said Commissioner Matthew Boswell in a statement.
“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.”
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The Bureau also concluded that Keurig Canada made false claims about the steps to prepare the pods for recycling in certain municipalities. They instruct users to prep the pods for recycling by peeling the lid off and emptying out the coffee grounds, but some local recycling programs require additional steps to recycle the pods, the bureau explained.
As part of the settlement, Keurig also agreed to change its recyclable claims and the packaging of K-Cup pods and publish a correction on its website, social media platforms, packaging of new brewing machines, and via email to its subscribers.