"Reusable goes down well with young people"

- Daniela Ziegler
Sustainability to go: Since January 1, reusability has been mandatory. Or rather: "The obligation to offer reusable tableware", as Daniela Ziegler from the Bavarian Hotel and Restaurant Association DEHOGA emphasizes. Young people in particular will make a purchasing decision in favor of a catering establishment if it offers reusable tableware, knows the managing director of the catering division.

Ms. Ziegler, the new mandatory reuse offer: curse or blessing?

Daniela Ziegler

The topic itself is not all that new. I have been dealing with it since 2020 because there was a round table in the Munich City Council, among others. The pandemic has highlighted the littering with take-away boxes in public spaces. A blessing is that now the big fast food companies are also using reusable and so the guest sees it more often.

How do the guests react?
Mixed. If the service explains it well to the guest, more people accept it gratefully and consciously. I keep hearing that seniors would rather keep the disposable bowl or the aluminum foil. Young people live more environmentally conscious lives - and I've gotten feedback that offering reusable makes them choose a very specific restaurant even. The social media work of the manufacturers also does a good job of making people aware of this.

What costs have restaurateurs incurred as a result of the new rule?
This varies. The restaurateur can purchase a system himself or use the established pool systems (e.g. reCircle, Recup or vytal). The initial purchase, listing in the system or even monthly fee costs between 45 and 100 euros with the pool providers. It differentiates between deposit system and systems with QR code for the customer. Some manufacturers take fees for filling. We have three partners among the pool systems that members can choose.

Where is there potential?
At the return points and visual advertising for the customer. Here, too, we are involved in a project with the Reusable Packaging Association to create even more contact points for consumers to return containers. Some restaurateurs want to purchase their own systems and not use the pool systems of established manufacturers such as Recup. However, this does not achieve the actual goal. This is because the reusable containers should rotate between restaurateurs and guests, and stand-alone solutions are only helpful to these restaurateurs on a regional basis.

How do you deal with the reusable obligation yourself?
Whenever possible, I take reusable boxes to the restaurant. I look at the pool provider's mobile app and see which restaurants are participating. Not only do I want to reduce household waste, but I also want to protect the climate with my small contribution. But of course, I still prefer to go to a restaurant for dinner and linger. The pandemic forced us to take-away, but that's over, thank goodness.

Daniela Ziegler has developed a guide for restaurateurs, and there are also https://www.dehoga-bayern.de FAQs and in the catering area info on the reusable subpage.

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