The end of disposable cups

Coffee-to-go also a problem in Bonn

Deckel aus Plastik finden meist nur einmal Verwendung und landen dann samt Becher im Müll.

Plastic lids are usually used only once and then end up in the trash along with their cups.

Bonn. Disposable cups are a problem. With every cup the mountain of waste grows. The Federal Environment Agency proposes a penalty tax and a deposit system. In Bonn it should become easier to drink waste-free coffee soon.

40,000 disposable cups end up in the rubbish every day, and that’s in Bonn alone. Generally, they are only used for 15 minutes. However, production and disposal usually pollute the environment for years.

In order to enjoy a crema, latte macchiato or espresso on the road without a guilty conscience, more and more consumers want packaging that is also good for the environment. The Federal Environment Agency has just presented a study on waste reduction. According to the study, disposable cups will be subject to a penalty tax of 20 cents, the corresponding lids will cost ten cents extra.

With a new offer it will soon be easier also in Bonn to use environmentally compatible alternatives. Filling your own cup, deposit, refill, recup, bamboo cups: At present, restaurants and retailers offer many different systems. Each company decides for itself which reusable model suits its business. "Nothing will be changed," assures Jasmin Mangold of the municipal waste disposal company Bonnorange. There will not be a uniform "Bonner Becher“.

But where can the coffee drinker return his cup or mug after the caffeine kick on the go? One can quickly lose track of things. But it should get simpler: By July at the latest, Bonnorange will have a homepage where all information about participants and systems can be accessed at any time. "The people of Bonn are sensitive when it comes to environmental protection. We are very confident that they will use this platform," explains Mangold. 

City map shows suppliers of reusable processes

For this purpose, a city map lists all providers who participate in a reusable procedure. There is also a reference to the respective model. "One click is all it takes for the consumer to know where to hand in his deposit cup or where to have a new coffee poured in," promises Bonnorange. Large retail chains and global system caterers are also showing interest in the Bonn Initiative. There are also discussions with retail chains like Rewe and with Starbucks, in order to list their branches as acceptance points as well.

Bonnorange  also has commuters in mind. "Bought in Bonn, drunk on the way to work, and delivered again in Cologne. That won't be a problem," says Mangold. Not only for consumers, but also for the catering trade, the new Website is to be an important source of information. For example, they will always receive up-to-date information on food hygiene.

However, kiosk operators, bakeries or chains cannot yet be forced to introduce returnable systems for drinks. "We cannot ban disposable cups and intervene in the competition," says Stefanie Zießnitz from the municipal press office. "We can only appeal to companies to join sustainable projects."

Employees no longer have to do anything due to Recup offer

From those who have already participated, the reactions are consistently satisfied. For example, the Mauel bakery, which has Recup (a Germany-wide deposit system) in its branches for coffee or bamboo bowls for hot soups. "We have always been committed to environmental protection. Recycling is a big issue for us," says Erich Henn of the company. The employees in the branches would not have to work more due to this offer. "Everything functions smoothly. We are very satisfied.“ However, entrepreneur Peter Mauel would like to have another alternative for the lid, which is currently only available in plastic.

In the "Brews Lee Coffee" in Endenich, Jimmy Ng offers several variants for a sustainable enjoyment. Guests can either bring their own drink containers, purchase their own reusable cup or use the "Cup for Cup" deposit system. "The best thing, of course, is for the customer to bring his own cup. Then he/she has consciously decided in favour of the concept and no longer needs to be convinced," says Ng. 

(Original text: Gabriele Immenkeppel, Translation: Mareike Graepel)