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Reusable systems to-go for food and beverages (DE-UZ 210)

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Resource-saving reusable cup systems

The first coffee “to go” was brewed in Germany in 1996. By now, 70 percent of consumers across Germany use coffee-to-go cups particularly frequently or occasionally. Recent surveys by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research gGmbH (ifeu) estimate a total quantity of 2.8 billion disposable cups per year in take-away sales - of which approx. 1.2 billion are to-go cups. The result: More and more discarded disposable cups pollute public spaces, streets and nature. Littering - the careless discarding of waste in public spaces - and overfilled waste bins are a costly challenge for local authorities. 

The ecolabel’s aim for reusable cup systems is to reduce the number of disposable cups and to strengthen environmentally friendly reusable cup systems. The criteria include requirements for the cups themselves as well as for the suppliers.

Materials that are harmful to the environment and health must be avoided in the production of the reusable cups and lids. The use of melamine resins and polycarbonate plastics, for example, which can release bisphenol A, is not permitted. In order not to increase the amount of waste, the cups must allow “material recycling”. This means that plastic cups may only be made of pure plastic, without being coated with other materials. In addition, the cups must be durable and have a service life of at least 500 wash cycles.

A deposit must also be demanded for the cup and lid. Furthermore, at the end of their service life, cups and lids must be taken back and recycled. Suppliers must also undertake to comply with the “Good Rules” for dispensing hot beverages: Customers should always first be offered a reusable cup and lid, or for their own cup to be filled. Furthermore, reusable cup system providers must prove that their logistics concept contributes to the ecological optimisation of transport routes and vehicles.