Germany Wakes Up to the Issue of Waste with Reusable Coffee Cups

Connector Winter 2017

The thought of 2.8 billion disposable coffee cups a year being dumped in landfill sites across Germany is enough to leave a bitter taste in the mouth of any consumer.

With 320,000 “to go” coffees delivered over the country’s counters every hour, according to the German environmental aid forum, the impact of this growing trend is extensive.

To tackle the issue, the university city of Freiburg has come up with a pioneering scheme aimed at reducing waste.

The “Freiburg Cup”, made from dishwasher-proof plastic and obtained from cafes and bakeries for a deposit of one euro, can be reused hundreds of times – or returned.

The cups, which are provided by local councils, are washed in the cafes and bakeries that have signed up to the scheme before being reused or redistributed.

So far, 16 outlets have agreed to take part in the “Freiburg Cup” experiment in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, including cafes in the university libraries.

“The cafes and bakeries that participate, as well as the consumers, do not incur any costs,” said Freiburg’s environmental mayor Gerda Stuchlik.

Germans, like Americans and Italians, are becoming a nation of caffeine addicts and the problem of waste is something relatively new – it did not exist a decade ago.

The move follows an initiative implemented in recent months in the German city of Tübingen. Similar experiments are also taking place in Berlin and Rosenheim.

Source: BBC News