Heineken kept making beer cans without a deposit logo past the deadline
Heineken continued producing beer cans without a deposit logo after the deadline set on April 1, AD reported on Saturday based on confidential documents and interviews with undisclosed sources. The company attributed this to a "misunderstanding."
Since April 1, a deposit of 15 euro cents is charged on cans of beer, soft drinks, and other beverages in the Netherlands. These cans are marked with a special deposit logo and can be handed in at major supermarkets and filling stations where consumers can then get the deposit back. The new deposit scheme aims to reduce litter on the streets and in nature areas.
After April 1, cans without the deposit logo may still be sold at retail outlets until they run out of stock. However, any new cans produced from that date forward must feature a deposit logo.
Newspaper AD revealed that Heineken was indeed aware of these new regulations. The Inspectorate for Environment and Transportation (ILT) confirmed that they informed Heineken multiple times that the production of cans without a deposit logo had to stop after April 1.
However, on March 27, just four days before the transition to the new deposit scheme, ILT inspectors visited two sites where Heineken stores its material. They learned that the company planned to continue filling cans without deposit logos after the deadline.
In response, the inspectorate issued a penalty to the company: 15 cents for each “old” beer can filled and brought to market. Heineken had until April 10 to modify its production. The brewer adjusted its production process in time, thus avoiding the penalty payment.
Heineken, already under scrutiny for its activities in Russia, stated that there had been “a misunderstanding.” The company argued that an agreed transitional period was in place to ensure a smooth transition. However, the ILT countered this, stating that Heineken had had ample time to adjust, especially considering the implementation of the new system had already been postponed by three months.
Recycling Network Benelux, an advocacy group that campaigned for the new deposit scheme for six years, filed a complaint against Heineken for violating the new regulation. The organization accused the company of strategically violating the law, prioritizing its own corporate interests over societal obligations.
This complaint is now being examined by the Public Prosecution Service.