Curbing the use of “coffee to go” cups
Disposable cups result in unnecessary amounts of waste and the unnecessary use of resources
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According to a UBA study, in the year 2016, Germans used some 2.8 billion disposable cups for hot drinks alone. Cups which are usually discarded as waste after a few minutes – partial into the environment. As at least their coatings and lids are made of plastic, this poses a considerable problem. Disposable cups are among the “top ten” of disposable products containing plastic to be found littering the coastlines of Europe. But they can also be found in areas of forests and meadows as well.
A UBA study now presents proposals on how the use of disposable cups can be reduced by half over the next three years: Reusable cups – ideally ones with the “Blue Angel” environmental label – should be offered to customers as standard cups for coffee to go and this should be cheaper than the hot drinks in disposable cups. A “littering fund” should also be set up. Those who sell hot drinks in disposable cups should pay into the fund. The funds obtained in this way could be used for cleaning up the polluted environment and for information campaigns.
These and further measures can be implemented with an agreement with the economic operators. If an ambitious agreement fails to be signed however, the measures should be enforced by law.
The FairCup scheme has been the first reusable cup system to have recently been awarded the “Blue Angel” environmental label. The special thing about the cups from the FairCup scheme is that they are easily returnable in the machines for collecting used containers at participating supermarkets. The first tests are currently under way at selected supermarkets in Göttingen and Hildesheim. Among others, the “Blue Angel” guarantees that the cups are durable and recyclable and they do not release any Bisphenol A, which is hazardous to health.