Keurig faces class action lawsuit over recyclable pod claim

Keurig Green Mountain Inc., Burlington, Massachusetts, faces a proposed class action lawsuit accusing it of falsely labeling its coffee pods as recyclable despite being too small for material recovery facilities (MRFs) and other recycling facilities to recover, a federal judge in California ruled June 28.

According to Reuters, Keurig had argued that its labels were not misleading because they told consumers to “check locally” about whether its K-Cup products were recyclable, but U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam in Oakland, California, has rejected that defense. Reuters reports that consumers had alleged the pods were not recyclable at any MRF or recycling facility in the country, and so the “check locally” disclaimer did not make the recyclable claim truthful, Gilliam says.

Keurig’s K-Cup pods are made from polypropylene (PP), a material that is accepted by many MRFs.

A Law360 report states that the plaintiff, Kathleen Smith, found that most MRFs aren’t equipped to work with materials as small as K-Cup pods. “Common sense would not so clearly lead a person to believe that a package labeled ‘recyclable’ is not recyclable anywhere,” Gilliam says in the article.