Sustainable reusable packaging is now available all over Germany - whether at restaurants, cafés, bakeries, or snack bars. Fabian Eckert and Florian Pachaly are declaring war against disposable packaging. They are the founders of Recup, a company that offers reusable cups and bowls as a deposit system. Meanwhile, the sustainable business model of the Munich-based start-up has also received an award from the organisation German Environmental Aid. We have interviewed Fabian Eckert.
In the wake of the Corona crisis, delivery services and to-go offers have experienced a real boom. What impact did this have on the environment?
Even before the Corona crisis, every German produced an average of 220 kilos of packaging waste per year. This has risen drastically again, by six percent last year, according to the German Association of Waste Management, Water and Raw Materials Industry (BDE). For the environment, this means not only a huge burden due to the waste generated, but also because of the use of resources for the production of disposable packaging.
How does the reusable deposit system work and what advantages does it offer?
Like the bottle deposit system, but for reusable containers: Customers pick up their to-go drink and take-away food in reusable containers at RECUP/REBOWL partners, i.e. café, restaurant, gas station, bakery, etc. They borrow recups or rebowls directly from the caterers for a deposit of €1 or €5 and simply return the containers to the next partner.
recups and rebowls are particularly sustainable because the containers circulate in the deposit system and are therefore used frequently. Each recup can be used up to 1,000 times and substitutes therefore up to 1,000 disposable cups. With regard to rebowl it is about 500 disposable containers that are replaced.
Another advantage besides waste avoidance is that there are no costs for the users and, unlike with disposable packaging, only low fixed costs for the catering businesses.
What advice do you have for representatives of the hospitality industry who are thinking about introducing a returnable system?
A nationwide reusable pool system has many advantages compared to individual systems. They are more sustainable, more customer-friendly and offer financial advantages for restaurateurs: because they do not have to buy their own cups but borrow them from Recup. In addition, the reusable obligation stipulates that from 2023 customers will have to be able to choose whether they want to buy their to-go drink in a reusable cup. With Recup, this changeover is done quickly and easily.
At INTERNORGA 2022, numerous players from the packaging industry will be presented together for the first time in the hall of “Packaging & Delivery”. The new exhibition area is located in Hall B1. first floor and thus in the immediate vicinity of the “Food and Beverages” area.