HomeNourishmentFood and drinks to go: clear the way for more returnables

Food and drinks to go: clear the way for more returnables

A cappuccino to go in the morning, a quick sushi box from the delivery service at lunchtime and something delicious from the Italian restaurant next door in the evening – meals and drinks to take away or to order are practical.

And they create a lot of waste: According to the federal government, 770 tons of packaging waste are generated every day in Germany from take-away disposable packaging. That should change. Because from January 1, 2023, the new multi-way offer obligation will come into force. There are also many other innovations for 2023.

Customers have the choice between disposable and reusable

Restaurants, cafés and snack bars, but also butcher shops and bakeries that sell “to go” dishes and drinks must then give their customers a choice when it comes to the type of packaging: in addition to single-use plastic packaging, they must also offer reusable cups, bowls and boxes. The same applies to delivery services that deliver ordered food to the front door.

Tip: It is not uncommon for the packaging to be a nuisance for customers – mostly those from the supermarket. We give concrete examples on our topic page Packaging troubles and deceptive packaging. In the test report Price traps in the supermarket, we give tips on how to spot real bargains.

See also
Eating well with Stiftung Warentest: Three kinds of potato chips

There is a deposit on reusable containers

The companies are allowed to charge a deposit, which is refunded if the customers later return the reusable containers. It is not permitted to sell food and drinks in reusable tableware at a higher price than in disposable packaging.

In the meantime, reusable providers such as Recup and Rebowl have established themselves: They equip a large number of restaurants and cafés, which should make it easier to return cups and bowls.

Tip: Handle the containers with care and return them clean.

Small businesses are exempt

Businesses that are independent of large chains with a sales area of ​​up to 80 square meters and up to five employees do not have to offer their own reusable system. In future, however, they will be obliged to fill containers that guests have brought with them.

Tip: If you order “to go” regularly, get a selection of well-closing cups and boxes in different sizes that are easy to clean – preferably in the dishwasher. Stainless steel is particularly stable and odorless.


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