Packaging Today

Reusable take-away packaging in the catering industry.

MILK Trends REBOWL - reusable system for restaurants

Image source: Rebowl

Reusable deposit systems such as those from REBOWL provide catering establishments with environmentally friendly take-away boxes. A deposit must be paid and the box can be returned afterwards. The aim is to reduce disposable packaging and prevent waste.

Since January 1, 2023, all catering establishments in Germany have been required to offer reusable packaging. It demands precisely such solutions for businesses that have more than 80m2 of sales space or employ more than 5 people. This means that in addition to the current one-way solutions in the take-away sector, a reusable alternative must be offered. Containers brought in by customers themselves must also be accepted. However, the obligation only applies to plastic packaging – those who use paper or aluminum containers can still avoid the regulation.

In a first résumé one year after the introduction of the law, the interest and commitment of the consumer is criticized above all. Although some restaurateurs have equipped themselves accordingly, customers still prefer the less environmentally friendly disposable container. The main reason for this is the inconvenient way to return them. Other providers, on the other hand, would not even take the obligation seriously, as there are currently hardly any controls or penalties.

Additional measures need to be taken to boost the concept of reusable packaging. The cities of Mainz and Wiesbaden, for example, are implementing a comprehensive return structure with a large number of participating businesses and return columns in public spaces as part of the “Reusable City Model” pilot project.

Our conclusion: Without standardized systems that take into account the convenience of the consumer when it comes to returns, the changeover will remain difficult. We are looking forward to the first findings from Mainz and Wiesbaden.

Best Practice: Vytal, Holybowl, Rebowl, Recircle