04 August 2023

Heineken under investigation in the Netherlands for not switching to deposit cans on time

The Netherlands | Heineken is facing a criminal investigation for not implementing the deposit on cans by the 1 April deadline, Dutch media reported on 27 July. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) in Amsterdam saw sufficient leads to launch an investigation.

The deposit scheme for beverage cans took effect on 1 April. Consumers pay EUR 0.15 (USD 0.16) in deposit, which they can reclaim when they return the container. The deposit scheme aims to reduce litter.

Days before the new regulation took effect, it became clear that Heineken would not meet the deadline as it was still supplying cans without the deposit logo into the market. According to media, Heineken claimed that its non-compliance with the new law was a misunderstanding. Although it is hard to believe, Heineken thought there was a transition period of three months.

Heineken slapped with cease-and-desist

But the public Inspectorate repeatedly told Heineken that this law had no transition period. The Inspectorate ordered Heineken to switch to deposit cans or face periodic fines.

Heineken did switch to producing deposit cans after a cease-and-desist order. Still, Recycling Network Benelux, an NGO, saw the course of events as sufficient reason to press for criminal charges against the brewer. According to the environmental organisation, Heineken deliberately violated the law.

Heineken told media that it looks forward to the investigation with confidence. “We see it as an opportunity to clarify the confusion that has arisen,” it was quoted as saying.

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