Gov't clashing with Heineken, Grolsch for not implementing deposit on cans by deadline
Grolsch and Heineken aren’t ready to switch to deposit cans from tomorrow, AD reports after inquiring with the brewers. By filling non-deposit cans after April 1, the breweries will be breaking the law, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management said to the newspaper.
From tomorrow, Dutch consumers can return cans for a deposit. “After April 1, the old stock may still be sold. But everything that is produced from then on must be in a can with a deposit logo,” a spokesperson for State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen said to the newspaper.
The brewers argue that they are not breaking the law. According to Heineken and Grolsch, a 3-month-long transitional period will apply from April 1, during which they will switch their existing cans to new ones bearing the deposit logo.
Heineken will gradually make the switch in the coming weeks. Its largest brand - the Pilsner - will only switch to deposit cans in May. “It is not feasible to do everything at once,” Mark Blok, Heineken’s head of communications Mark Blok told AD. “That’s why we’re doing it in steps. That has also been agreed with the customers.”
Grolsch will transfer the bulk of its beer to deposit cans in the course of April, with the last ones making the switch in May. According to the brewer, doing everything at once will waste raw materials.
Recycling Netwerk Benelux, a collective representing environmental organizations like Greenpeace and Milieudefensie and others, is preparing to file a criminal report against the brewers. According to the organization, the companies have had months to prepare - the government previously postponed the law's introduction by three months under pressure from the business community.
Recycling Netwerk Benelux fears that Heineken and Grolsch’s delay will jeopardize the success of the deposit system. “Now consumers have to look for a logo on every can. They can hand in one can but not the other. If you want behavioral change, you must make it as easy as possible for people,” spokesperson Suze Govers told the newspaper.
The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate is aware of Heineken and Grolsch’s intentions and will enforce if they actually continue to fill old, non-deposit cans from Saturday. “We are on top of it,” a spokesperson said.
Brewers AB InBev and Royal Swinkels are ready to switch to deposit cans from April 1. The same goes for Coca-Cola and Red Bull, they told AD.