Kiel – the capital of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein – is the first local authority in Germany to be awarded the Blue Angel ecolabel for the reusable cup system used at Kiel Week (Kieler Woche).
Visitors received the cups at every refreshment stand and could also return them at the stands. A standard deposit of 2 euros per Kiel Week cup was charged at Kiel Week. The aim was to encourage visitors to return their cups instead of throwing them away, ensuring that the cups have the longest possible life cycle. The state capital thus once again highlighted how important sustainability is to the city.
The deposit system at Kiel Week 2022 was realised by the service provider cup&more Mehrweglogistik e.K. based in Bad Segeberg. It offers cups in a variety of designs – based on the year of production. Only the number of “unreturned cups” are reproduced each year in a new design. A mobile dishwashing facility was set up centrally on Wilhelmplatz to clean the cups.
The Blue Angel for reusable systems to-go for food and beverages
Takeaway food and beverages appear to be an unstoppable trend. According to a study carried out by the German Environment Agency (UBA), Germans use 2.8 billion disposal cups for hot drinks per year, which corresponds to 34 cups per person. As a result, approximately 28,000 tonnes of waste is produced due to the takeaway consumption of hot drinks in disposable cups in Germany alone. Environmentally friendly reusable packaging is one answer to this increasing volume of waste. The Blue Angel supports the establishment of reusable systems in the “to-go” sector that preserve resources and avoid waste by labelling sustainable alternatives.
The Blue Angel guarantees that the certified products and services place less burden on the environment than conventional products and services – while ensuring that they also having the same fitness for use and quality as other products. The criteria for the award of the ECOLABEL FOR REUSABLE SYSTEMS (DE-UZ 210) impose requirements on the materials and production processes used for the reusable cups and bowls and also on the suppliers. Manufacturers undertake to avoid the use of materials that are damaging to the environment and health in either the cups or lids. Amongst other things, this includes avoiding the use of melamine resin and polycarbonate plastics. The cups must be recyclable to avoid any additional waste. This means that the plastic cups must be made of unmixed plastic without any coating with other materials. Reusable cups certified with the Blue Angel must also have a service life of at least 500 wash cycles without displaying any damage. Life cycle assessments from a UBA study into reducing the use of disposable coffee cups demonstrated that the circulation number for a cup – i.e. the number of times it is reused – is an important criteria for easing the environmental burden.
About the Blue Angel
The Blue Angel has been the ecolabel of the German federal government for more than 40 years and the guide for sustainable purchasing. It is an independent and credible label that sets stringent standards for environmentally friendly products and services. The Blue Angel guarantees that the products or services it certifies meet high standards when it comes to its environmental, health and performance characteristics. The whole life cycle of the product or service is always taken into account in the assessment process. Criteria are developed for each product group and must be complied with by those products and services holding the Blue Angel. In order to reflect any technological developments, the German Environment Agency checks the criteria every three to four years. This ensures that companies are required to make their products even more environmentally friendly over time.