Keurig has reached a $10 million settlement in a class action lawsuit. The case filed in 2018, Smith v. Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., alleged the company falsely advertised its K-Cups as recyclable. The lawsuit claimed violations of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the fraudulent, unlawful, and unfair prongs of the California Unfair Competition Law, breach of express warranty, and unjust enrichment.
The Complaint states that Keurig marketed the K-Cups in an untruthful or deceptive manner, misleading the “reasonable consumer” to believe the product was recyclable. Members of the Class claim that they relied upon Keurig’s false representations and followed Keurig’s recycling instructions, and, had they known the K-Cups were not recyclable, they would not have purchased them or paid the amount they did. Keurig presented the K-Cups as recyclable, yet there were unmentioned caveats that prevented the product from being recycled even when customers placed the products into the recycling stream, including:
- Many communities do not accept the plastic used in K-Cups (polypropylene), into recycling.
- Keurig’s instructions prevent recyclability by advising users that they do not need to remove the K-Cup’s paper filter, although not doing so makes the product ineligible for recycling.
- The K-Cup design hinders recyclability because the foil lids are difficult to remove, but without doing so, the product is ineligible for recycling.
Consumers who purchased Keurig’s K-Cups between June 8, 2016, and August 8, 2022, are eligible for an award of up to $36. If any money remains in the settlement fund after these payments, 75 percent of the remaining funds will be given to Ocean Conservancy, an environmental non-profit organization that formulates ocean policy and the national and state levels; the remaining 25 percent will go to Consumer Reports, a non-profit organization that conducts independent product testing and consumer advocacy.